Theresa May to emphasise special relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom in Belfast today
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Theresa May to emphasise special relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom in Belfast today

BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May will today tell Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness that any negotiations to leave the EU must work for the North of Ireland as well as the UK - and that includes any potential arrangements that might affect the border with the Republic of Ireland.

In a statement made this morning, the Prime Minister was keen to reiterate the comments made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny last week, in which he said there would be no 'hard border' between the Republic and the North of Ireland.

Ms May said: "I have been clear that we will make a success of the UK’s departure from the European Union. That means it must work for Northern Ireland too, including in relation to the border with the Republic. We will engage with all of Northern Ireland’s political parties as we prepare for that negotiation."

Ms May is meeting with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister today, in an effort to build bridges with the region in the aftermath of the change of leadership of the Conservative government and the Brexit vote.

"I am delighted to be visiting Northern Ireland," she said.

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"I made clear when I became Prime Minister that I place particular value on the precious bonds between the nations of the United Kingdom. I want to assure the people of Northern Ireland that I will lead a government which works for everyone across all parts of the United Kingdom, and that Northern Ireland is a special and valued part of that union."

The Prime Minister will also emphasise the importance of implementing the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements, which is hoped to provide stability in the North.

It was also announced this afternoon that Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet the Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing Street tomorrow, marking the first time the new British Prime Minister will have officially hosted Mr Kenny since she took office.