Northern Ireland government teeters

2017-01-09 20:27
FILE: Northern Irish deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness outside 10 Downing Street in central London. (Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP)

FILE: Northern Irish deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness outside 10 Downing Street in central London. (Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP)

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London - Northern Ireland's power-sharing government was on the brink of collapse after Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced on Monday he was resigning.

The move by McGuinness, a senior member of the Sinn Fein party and a former Irish Republican Army commander in the 1970s, could trigger new elections in the semi-autonomous province.

"It is with deep regret and reluctance that I am tendering my resignation as deputy first minister with effect from 17:00 (17:00 GMT)," McGuinness said.

The announcement ramps up pressure on First Minister Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, to step down over her handling of a botched renewable energy scheme that wasted public funds.

"Sinn Fein will not tolerate the arrogance of Arlene Foster and the DUP," McGuinness said in a statement.

Sinn Fein would have to appoint a replacement for McGuinness for the government to remain in place but the party said that it would not do so.

Northern Ireland, whose government has powers devolved from London, endured 30 years of sectarian violence known as The Troubles in which 3 500 people died.

A 1998 peace deal, that led to the formation of a power-sharing government, ended most of the violence.

Read more on:    ira  |  sinn fein  |  uk  |  northern ireland

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