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Arlene Foster says she will leave DUP and tells Edwin Poots he must `heal divisions'
Arlene Foster has confirmed she will leave the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) when she steps down as First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Mrs Foster also said that if new party leader Edwin Poots appoints a new ministerial team on Tuesday, she will step down immediately as First Minister.

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Meanwhile, Mr Poots has denied a split in the party after several senior figures walked out of a meeting to ratify his election to the role before his inaugural speech.

The North's Minister for Agriculture was confirmed as the party leader at a meeting on Thursday evening in Belfast of the party's 130-strong executive.

Before he addressed the gathering, Ms Foster, MPs Jeffrey Donaldson, Gavin Robinson and Gregory Campbell, as well as Stormont Economy Minister Diane Dodds, all left.

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After his ratification as new leader, Mr Poots described his relationship with the Irish Government as "really, really bad" as he criticised Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.

Mr Poots appears to have taken issue with an incident from 2018, in which Mr Varadkar brought a copy of The Irish Times to a European Council meeting in Brussels, to highlight his concerns over the Border issue.

The front-page story was about an IRA bombing of a Border customs post in 1972 that left nine people dead.

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"They are going to starve Northern Ireland people of medicines no less, cancer drugs and other materials, such as the food that's on our table," he said.

"And I say that's a shame on the Irish government that they (did) that, and that belongs to Fine Gael, under the leadership of Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney.

"So relationships are really, really bad for the Irish government as a consequence."

I don't think the Irish government is too concerned. They have yet to figure out what constructive engagement with Mr. Poots is possible, if any.  Certainly blaming the Irish government for the EU's aborted attempt to invoke A. 16 of the protocol is not a good start.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 28th, 2021 at 01:44:46 PM EST

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