DUP needs to be given ‘space’ after Poots resignation, Coveney says

Edwin Poots resigned as leader after just three weeks amid party anger over his nomination of Paul Givan as First Minister.
DUP needs to be given ‘space’ after Poots resignation, Coveney says

By Michelle Devane, PA

The “last thing” Northern Ireland needs is for its largest party to be divided, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

Simon Coveney said the DUP should be given “space” respond to the challenges it is facing.

The party is looking for another new leader after Edwin Poots announced his intention to quit following a brief but tumultuous reign.

First and Deputy First Minister nomination
Edwin Poots resigned just three weeks after being ratified as DUP leader. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

Mr Poots’ resignation, tendered only three weeks after he was ratified in the role, came after an angry party revolt against his decision to nominate a First Minister on Thursday

Mr Coveney told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “We’re back to square one, if you like, where the party has to find a way of electing a new leader that can unite the DUP, or at least attempts to.

“And that’s important for politics in Northern Ireland.”

He added that, with the region facing “potentially a very tense summer”, what is needed is “stability and some predictability” in Northern Ireland politics.

Mr Coveney also said it is “hard to tell” whether Paul Givan will quit as the North’s First Minister following Mr Poots’ resignation.

Edwin Poots announces ministerial team
DUP members were angry at Edwin Poots’ nomination of Paul Givan as First Minister. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

“The DUP is remaining very tight-lipped in terms of their approach to the First Minister, and, of course, electing a new leader. Whether that will be by contest, or whether they’ll rally behind one name now, is hard to know,” he said.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens in relation to Paul Givan as First Minister.

“As of now, he is the First Minister in Northern Ireland. He’s been selected and elected yesterday into that position.

“But so much has changed in those 24 hours that you have to say there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

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