After Stormont’s US Senate majority leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, said that Chuck Schumer should read history books.
These comments were made at the annual Ireland Funds dinner, Washington. They were attended by Leo Varadkar and other powerful US figures such as Kevin McCarthy, House speaker, and Mr Schumer (the most senior senator).
Schumer used his address last month to urge the DUP support the Windsor Framework, the UK-EU post- EU deal.
“Now that the Windsor Framework is announced,” Mr Schumer stated, “I hope it clears way for Sinn Fein to join the DUP in a power-sharing arrangement.”
“I appeal to all parties, especially the DUP, to get to the people’s business: the business of power-sharing, self-governing.”
He said that he was the majority leader of the United States Senate, which decides on trade agreements. If any settlement is detrimental to the Good Friday Agreement, I would not support any trade agreement between the UK and the US.
Sky News’ Sir Jeffrey said that he would encourage Senator to read history books. Perhaps he would learn more about the real events and the realities of the situation.
DUP believes the Windsor Framework is a good step in the right direction but acknowledges that there are still areas where improvements can be made. The party wants Rishi Sonak to take over and make the necessary changes before considering going back to power-sharing.
Sir Jeffrey said, “We are saying that the [UK] government must go further and dig deeper to ensure what we get works for us now and in the future.”
In the lead-up to St Patrick’s Day, the Irish political leaders have fled to the USA in the tradition exodus.
The Irish prime minister spoke out ahead of Friday’s meeting with Joe Biden. He stated to Sky News that it was “a very sensitive time in this process”.
When Varadkar was asked if there were any possible changes to the post-Brexit agreement, he replied: “It’s for me not to speak for others. We have a long-awaited agreement between the UK, the European Commission and Ireland that has been approved by both the UK government and the Irish government.
“Ultimately, it will be a decision by the UK prime minister when she presses ahead and decides what to do with their domestic legislation.”
As the DUP remains the main focus, expect delicate language from the Irish government
Leo Varadkar is known for his outspoken answers. Sky News interviewed Leo Varadkar about his views on the Windsor Framework. He was disciplined and restrained during the interview.
A third party observer might believe that, several weeks after the deal was announced with great joy by London and Brussels alike, the Irish government is trying to increase pressure on the largest unionist party in Ireland to accept it and get Stormont back in operation.
However, Mr Varadkar’s refusal to comment strongly is a reflection of a Dublin belief that Sir Jeffery requires time and space in order to accept the deal. The DUP’s current public position is that, just like the protocol, real changes to the Windsor Framework text are required.
Many believe the leader of the party is looking for a way to return to power-sharing, without completely rejecting the new agreement. He must also take the party’s hard-line wing with him. This task will be even more difficult if he is perceived as bowing to pressures from the south.
As the St Patrick’s Week events continue in Washington, expect delicate language from Ireland’s government. The DUP is still the main focus. It is not clear if Joe Biden will be as diplomatic Friday.
The leader of Ireland declined to reveal what his message was to Sir Jeffrey, stating that his conversations would remain confidential.
When asked if the British government had made a mistake in calling the agreement the Windsor Framework and including King Charles as part of an attempt to win unionists, Varadkar replied that Dublin did not object at the time.
The Taoiseach stated that they were “comfortable about Windsor Framework being used”
“What matters to us all along has been the substance,” Mr Varadkar said.
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He also expressed his hope for a positive working relationship with Mr Sunak who he has not yet met in person.
Varadkar stated that he believes he meant business when referring to the UK prime minister. There’s an opportunity to bring back British-Irish relations the way they were before Brexit. They were great before Brexit.
The US president is expected to give more details about his visit to the island next month during Friday’s bilateral with the Taoiseach.
Biden will also be reiterating his support for the Windsor Framework and encouraging all Northern Irish parties to do so.