February 13, 2020 / 11:49 AM / 11 days ago

Irish PM tacitly criticizes Johnson's sacking of Northern Ireland minister

FILE PHOTO: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar speaks at a count centre, during Ireland's national election, in Citywest, near Dublin, Ireland, February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Leo Varadkar, the prime minister of Ireland, tacitly criticized British leader Boris Johnson for sacking his Northern Ireland minister Julian Smith, hailing Smith as “one of Britain’s finest politicians of our time”.

Smith’s ouster, part of a wider cabinet reshuffle in London, came after he brokered a deal to end three years of political stalemate in Northern Ireland.

“In 8 months as Secretary of State, Julian, you helped to restore power-sharing in Stormont (seat of Northern Ireland’s political institutions), secured an agreement with us to avoid a hard border, plus marriage equality,” Varadkar said on Twitter.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison

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