Taoiseach Micheál Martin calls for "calm heads" after Edwin Poots resignation 1 month ago

Taoiseach Micheál Martin calls for "calm heads" after Edwin Poots resignation

"It has been a very turbulent 24 hours."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called for "calm heads" following Edwin Poots' resignation as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

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Poots announced his resignation on Thursday night, after less than a month into the role, and that he will remain in the post until his successor is elected.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the Taoiseach said the Irish government will "work constructively" with whoever emerges as the party's new leader and stressed the importance of maintaining relationships.

He said: "Just in relation to the situation in Northern Ireland, it has been a very turbulent 24 hours.

"I think it's very important that we all work collectively on the island towards maintaining stability and calm heads - staying focused on what is important to the people within Northern Ireland which is a government that can work on fundamental, pressing issues."

Martin stated the Irish government will work with all parties and the British government to protect the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and to "ensure the continuation of the Assembly and the Executive".

On Poots' resignation, Martin added: "It's been a very difficult period but again as I say it's important that we stay focused on the issues.

"We'll obviously work with the new leadership - that's a matter for the Democratic Unionist Party, whoever emerges as their leader. We will work constructively with their new leader.

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"It's been personally a very difficult time for the outgoing leader Edwin Poots but I think it's important that we maintain relationships obviously."

Poots' resignation came after scenes described as "bedlam" during a DUP party meeting on Thursday.

This was as Paul Givan and Michelle O'Neill were officially appointed as Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers.

Poots formally nominated Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan as Northern Ireland's new First Minister at a special sitting of the Stormont Assembly.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy also nominated party colleague Michelle O’Neill as Deputy First Minister at the same special sitting.

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However, it is understood that 20 DUP MLAs voted against the decision to nominate Givan, but that Poots went ahead with the nomination, provoking a backlash from the party.