Arlene Foster refuses to comment on Taoiseach's postponed trip to Northern Ireland

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By Cate McCurry, PA

Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster refused to comment on a postponed trip by Taoiseach Micheal Martin to Northern Ireland.

Mr Martin had been due to meet with Mrs Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, but the visit was cancelled because of "scheduling matters".

It was reported in the press that the Fianna Fail leader was to travel to Belfast on Thursday, however a number hours later Mr Martin's office confirmed that the meeting was suspended because of scheduling issues.

There was speculation, however, that Mrs Foster's office was not made aware of the visit.

The Taoiseach will now travel to Belfast next Thursday, marking his first visit to Northern Ireland as head of government.

Asked the reports in the press about the suspended trip, Mrs Foster said: "I don't usually take from the press what is happening.

"I usually take what's happening from my private office.

"I'm looking forward very much to the Taoiseach coming up to Northern Ireland next Thursday as I understand it.

"We shall meet him then.

"I am looking forward to talking about matters of mutual concern and how we can work together to protect our different jurisdictions, recognising of course the geography of the island of Ireland, but also the different jurisdictional issues that are there.

"So look forward to next Thursday.

"I'm not going to get into the details of scheduling.

"Suffice to say that we're looking forward to welcoming the Taoiseach next Thursday."

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