Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party: They can’t even look at each other, let alone talk [Image: Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne].

Talks on a new power-sharing agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland have broken down into bitter recriminations over the grubby deal signed by DUP leader Arlene Foster to prop up Theresa May’s minority Tory government.

Here’s Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, explaining the situation to the BBC:

Sinn Fein has accused Theresa May of allowing the DUP to block rights already given to those living elsewhere in the UK from being granted to Northern Irish citizens.

There are differences over a possible Irish language act that would protect the rights of Irish speakers in Northern Ireland, and the DUP has also refused to support calls to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

But the real problem is the fact that Mrs May has bent over backwards to give a disproportionate amount of power to the DUP, upsetting the carefully-balanced power-sharing deal that brought peace to the Province nearly 20 years ago.

It is a serious political mis-step from a woman who has proved herself a pathetic amateur rather than the political genius she claimed to be when she called her snap election in April.

Mrs May has, indeed, “set back decades of work”. How long will it be before that ground can be reclaimed?

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