London and Dublin are ready to move forward with new measures to break the political stalemate in Northern Ireland, after the unexpected resignation of the UK Minister for the region complicated already difficult talks harassed by the tensions related to Brexit .
James Brokenshire resigned on Monday, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May embarked on a cabinet reshuffle, telling Mrs. May she needed surgery to remove a small lesion in her right lung and could not give the "effort, energy and complete focus" needed in his ministerial function.
His departure was a surprise to officials in Dublin, who had anticipated that Brokenshire would meet next week with Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney, to establish a joint position before a new round of talks between the Democratic Unionist of Ireland from North. Fiesta and Sinn Féin, the Irish Republican Party. Tuesday marks a year since the collapse of the executive power of the two parties after a dispute over a public spending scandal.
Brexit has raised political stakes in the political deadlock, as the stalemate in Belfast has left Irish leaders without a formal role in the talks between the UK and the EU that will have a critical impact on the region and its border with the Republic of Ireland.
But the British and Irish governments stressed on Monday that they remained committed to carrying Ms. May's DUP. Allies and Sinn Fein return to the table.
In her letter of resignation to Ms. May, Brokenshire said there was an "urgent need" to restart political talks.
"We are now in overtime to re-establish an executive if we want to avoid further intervention in the day-to-day affairs of Northern Ireland," he said.
In response, Ms. May said that "all parties should redouble their efforts" to reestablish power in Stormont at "an important moment for politics in Northern Ireland."
Mr. Coveney said in a statement that important progress had been made on "important issues over the past year," although that was not always obvious. He added that a positive result can still be achieved.
A senior Irish official said that the resignation of Brokenshire did not change the plans of a new impulse to break the jam, although it was accepted that his successor, who has not yet been named, faces a period of rapid reading.
"Both governments pledged an intense commitment in January to see if it is possible to get Stormont back on track," said the Irish official. "This does not change the government's objectives."
David Phinnemore, a professor of European politics at Queen's University Belfast, said the current political crisis had left the region "without a coherent question in terms of what is wanted or needed" in the talks. Brexit
Despite the progress in Irish issues in the December agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU to bring the Brexit negotiations to the second phase of the negotiations, the problem has not yet been resolved and any legal agreement for avoid a "difficult limit" "Between Northern Ireland and the Republic await a formal agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom.
" The challenge for any resuscitated executive is to find common ground in those matters on which they can really be I agree, "said Phinnemore." They may agree that they do not want a hard border, but how they can achieve that is something they have very different positions in. "
Arlene Foster, leader of DUP, and Michelle O & # 39; Neill, leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, all insisted in recent days that they want to restore the executive, however, deep divisions persist on issues such as Irish marriage and oma Irish.
Any failure to reach an agreement on the new talks between Sinn Féin and the DUP could trigger new elections in Northern Ireland, or a return of the full-blown direct rule from London, with UK ministers leading departments Government in Belfast.
Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, has resisted direct rule, saying that Dublin should have a "real and meaningful participation" in the affairs of Northern Ireland through a British-Irish intergovernmental conference.
The conference, which was last held in 2007 during an earlier suspension of political institutions in Stormont, consists of British and Irish ministers meeting under the structures established in the peace pact on Good Friday of 1998. In the absence of power sharing, Dublin wants deeper bilateral and Irish cooperation in Northern Ireland as an alternative to the government of British ministers on their own.