Leading article

If fulfilled, Leo Varadkar's Stormont funding pledge benefits everyone in Northern Ireland

The Irish News view: The British government is using the DUP's antediluvian boycott of Stormont as an excuse to starve the north of funds

The Irish News
Fine Gael leader, taoiseach Leo Varadkar, at the party's conference in Co Kildare last weekend

In an enmity that dates back to Brexit and the ill-starred negotiations over the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, there is something about taoiseach Leo Varadkar's interventions on northern politics that is almost guaranteed to set unionists on edge.

At the weekend Mr Varadkar said he believed there is a "real possibility" that Stormont could return by Christmas or the new year. His comments have, predictably, been seized upon by some unionist and loyalist figures as yet more evidence of Dublin meddling in matters which, they would seek to assert, have nothing to do with it.

Read more:

DUP plays down prospects of imminent deal as Irish government repeats Stormont cash offer

Government accused of ‘economic blackmail' as Northern Ireland misses out on Levelling Up cash

DUP waiting for action on trading arrangement talks – Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Those who complain about the interest shown in the north by southern politicians might reflect upon just how well the DUP's boycott of power-sharing is actually serving their interests or why Northern Ireland figures so low down in the British prime minister's priorities.

The fact that the north is not getting any of the latest round of so-called levelling up money because, the government says, of "the current absence of a working executive and assembly" is not a ringing endorsement of the DUP's insistence that it is putting the Conservatives under pressure.

Time will tell if there is substance behind the taoiseach's sunny claim that the executive could be resuscitated within weeks. Optimists will hope that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson will win round the more antediluvian elements of the DUP before too long; realists may be resigned to the endless cycle of apparent talks between the DUP and the British government trudging on in ever decreasing circles until the general election is called.

What is clear, however, is that the Irish government is committed to contributing financially to the north.

Referring to how a future executive needs to be economically sustainable to support a comprehensive programme for government, Mr Varadkar said: "The financial package is going to be important, too, and we're happy to contribute to that."


Minister for public expenditure Paschal Donohoe has backed up taoiseach Leo Varadkar's pledge to help the return of Stormont "economically"


Paschal Donohoe, the Republic's minister for public expenditure has expanded on those comments, talking of how the Irish government is willing to help restore power-sharing in "any way economically".

Read more:

Suggestion of political motivation in Shared Island funding rejected

The orange and green zero-sum game has stopped our politics from working

Orange Order needs to accept challenge of change in Belfast

He said the money could come in the first instance from the Shared Island Fund, which was announced in 2021 with €500 million for north/south projects. An outworking of this has been the €44.5m contribution the Irish government announced for the Ulster University's Derry campus.

Few can disagree that such investment benefits all of the people of Ireland.



Leading article