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A meeting of the British Irish Council is currently taking place in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland with leaders and senior representatives from the govt's of the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
- In attendance are Ireland's Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Edwin Poots, UK Cabinet Office Secretary Michael Gove, and UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis. The first ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford respectively, are joining virtually, while leaders from the British Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are also at the talks.
- The meeting (which takes place every six months) is intended to discuss plans for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recent souring of relations between the UK and the EU, as well as between the UK gov't and loyalist groups and politicians in Northern Ireland, regarding the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol could well come up in discussion.
- A press conference is due to take place at the conclusion of the meeting around 1220BST (0720ET, 1320CET).
- The council meeting will be the final political event for Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster - in place from 2016 to 2017 and again from January 2020, who will be replaced by DUP MLA Paul Girvan following her ouster as party leader in the spring.