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DUP must realise all-island approach is in north's interests

The presence of Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a remembrance event in Enniskillen on Sunday, alongside first minister Arlene Foster, was a further sign of the efforts being made by the Irish government to build understanding and mutual respect on this island.

It was not the first time Mr Kenny has made this symbolic journey and other government representatives similarly took part in ceremonies at the Cenotaph in London and Belfast City Hall.

The Taoiseach has made overtures aimed at improving relationships but his efforts have been rebuffed on occasions, most notably after he suggested an all-island forum to discuss the implications of Brexit.

Indeed, at times there appears to be a tone of hostility emanating from the first minister which was evident in her speech to the DUP party conference last month.

Mrs Foster accused the Republic of sending representatives around the world `to talk down our economy and to attempt to poach our investors.'

Of course, speeches to party conferences tend to be primarily focused on buoying the grassroots and she won't be the first political leader to play to the gallery.

But the jibe clearly hit home with the Dublin government which felt the need to defend its record. Jobs minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor released figures showing Northern Ireland companies have been involved in 12 Enterprise Ireland trade promotion visits and three IDA missions between 2010 and 2015.

The attitude of the DUP is certainly disappointing given the importance of cross-border cooperation and all-island trade links that can undoubtedly benefit companies in the north.

We are facing a period of unprecedented economic upheaval and Mrs Foster's natural inclination is to throw in her lot with the Tory government without knowing what a post-Brexit Britain will look like or where Northern Ireland will feature in the new arrangements.

At this time of great uncertainty, it would surely make sense for the first minister to develop all-island relationships that could be to the north's advantage, rather than seeking to alienate the Irish government.

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