DUP leader Edwin Potts is scheduled to meet with Michael Martin in Dublin this evening

DUP leader EDWIN Poots is scheduled to meet Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Dublin later today.

Paul Gevan, DUP MLA, said Potts wants to lift the post-Brexit arrangement with Taoiseach, as well as a «north-south dynamism».

The talks come amid tensions between Stormont’s parties over the failure of DUP ministers to attend north-south political meetings.

Regular meetings are held between ministers who have held the same short period north and south of the border, but the DUP boycotts most of these meetings in protest of the post-Brexit checks contained in the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Last month, Potts described his relationship with the Dublin government as «really, really bad».

He said he respected the Taoiseach, but criticized his predecessor, Leo Varadkar, and External Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

In an interview with the magazine On Monday, Coveney said he had spoken to Potts since he made the comments, and was hoping to meet the new DUP leader «sooner rather than later.»

“The Protocol is international law, but we have to find a way to implement the Protocol in a way that takes into account the real concerns and frustrations of business and the mostly federal community in Northern Ireland. I hear those concerns, and we are trying to accommodate them.”

Paul Gevan said today that the relationship between North and South is a «very important relationship», and that his party wants to be in a place where it has «a good relationship with our closest neighbour.»

But, turning to East-West relations, he said the Northern Ireland Protocol had caused «great damage without the consent of the trade union people or their representatives».

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«This has had a very negative impact in terms of those relationships, and it’s something we all need to address collectively,» he said.

He completed:

Edwin Potts is traveling to Dublin this evening. There’s a meeting going with Michelle Martin, and I know Edwin wants to be able to address these issues with Taoiseach, and I think he’ll have more to say about the whole North-South dynamic later. Today because it is so important that people, in the Republic of Ireland, understand the challenges and difficulties of unions, but we need to identify and navigate ways through these difficulties, and that is what Edwin is all about.

«We just need to reduce the rhetoric a little bit and get a little quiet, mature politics and work our way through this in a reasonable way.»

Sinn Féin considers the legal case

Communities Minister Deirdre Harji Request a legal opinion from her ministry on the possibility of a judicial review against DUP ministers who did not participate in recent meetings with their counterparts in the Irish government.

Jeevan responded this morning saying he did not believe judicial review was «necessary.»

«Politics is about making things work, it’s about building relationships and trust, locating problems, putting yourselves in each other’s shoes and trying to see them from their perspective, and then trying to navigate and trying to find a way forward,» he told BBC Radio Ulster.

«It [legal action] Always, in my opinion, something you do as a last resort.”

Jeevan said Potts wanted a meeting of the party leaders’ forum to work on the difficulties and challenges.

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«At no time did I refuse to attend North-South meetings,» Potts said, providing evidence to the Stormont Agriculture Committee this morning.

«I have absolutely no problem in fulfilling all my responsibilities under the ministerial law and I have every intention of doing so,» he said.

The fact that the DUP did not attend the North and South meetings represented another escalation of tensions within the Belfast power-sharing administration.

This followed the sectoral meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council on Languages, in which Sinn Féin MLA Hargey was scheduled to participate, and did not continue because junior DUP Minister Gordon Lyons did not attend.

The meeting cannot take place, according to Stormont’s rules any meeting with the Irish Government that includes a National Executive Minister must include an accompanying Union Minister.

«arrogant disrespect»

The DUP has failed to participate in a number of cross-border political meetings in recent months, after making clear that north-south cooperation would be affected amid its campaign against the Brexit border on the Irish Sea.

“North-south ministerial meetings are an integral part of the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement along with the Executive and the Council,” Hargi said.

They must work properly, in the presence of ministers from all sides.

Today was the second occasion that a minister failed to attend a meeting on languages ​​with Dublin ministers and prevented the meeting from moving forward.

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“In addition to disrespecting the Irish language community, it is completely unacceptable that government business should be impeded in this way by the DUP boycott of a Good Friday Agreement institution.

This arrogant disrespect cannot be allowed to continue.

“This action may be in breach of Ministerial Law and tonight I have asked the Department of Communities to provide legal advice on taking this matter to court for judicial review.”

The leaders of the five major parties in Northern Ireland are scheduled to meet today to discuss the latest political developments in the region.

With a report from Gráinne Ní Aodha.

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