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Northern Ireland faces elections as deputy leader McGuinness quits

Monday, January 09, 2017 - 01:37

Northern Ireland's deputy leader, Martin McGuinness, resigned in protest at First Minister Arlene Foster's handling of a controversial green-energy scheme, a move likely to trigger an election in the British province. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Northern Ireland in political crisis, after the shock resignation of it's deputy first minister - Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NORTHERN IRELAND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER AND SINN FEIN'S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IN IRELAND (REPUBLIC OF IRELAND), MARTIN MCGUINNESS, SAYING: "Today I have told Arlene Foster that I have tendered my resignation effective from 5 o'clock today. So I believe today is the right time to call a halt to the DUP's arrogance." His notice, a protest against first minister Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party. Sinn Fein had already called on her to step down after a botched green energy scheme that has been overspent by tens of millions of pounds Then she refused, but now she's left with no choice. Under the power sharing agreement, his resignation automatically means she can no longer stay in her role. Northern ireland now faces a snap election - a prospect that's already dividing opinion. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES BROKENSHIRE, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND, SAYING: "I would urge the political parties, the leaders of the political parties to come together..." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEADER OF THE ULSTER UNIONIST PARTY MIKE NESBITT, SAYING: "I think what would be very good for the country would be to have an election which led to two parties taking power in Stormont Castle who put the country first, who learned to work together." The decision comes just weeks before Britain is due to trigger the process of leaving the EU - a decision that has divided Northern Ireland: While Foster's DUP wanted to leave, Sinn Fein voted to stay in the EU. McGuiness calling for a referendum on Northern Ireland joining the Republic of Ireland to avoid an exit.

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Northern Ireland faces elections as deputy leader McGuinness quits

Monday, January 09, 2017 - 01:37