Brandon Lewis set for first official meeting with Simon Coveney

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Reuters

Northern Ireland’s new Secretary of State Brandon Lewis will meet Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney at Stormont later on Friday.

It is their first meeting since Mr Lewis replaced Julian Smith.

It also follows the Irish general election which saw Mr Coveney’s Fine Gael party come in third place.

That government, under Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar, will remain in place until a new government can be formed.

The new secretary of state was appointed after the sacking of Mr Smith, who, alongside Mr Coveney, had helped restore power-sharing at Stormont via the New Decade, New Approach document.

Meeting with Finucane family

Mr Lewis made his first official visit to Northern Ireland last week when he said he was “fully aware” of his responsibilities and that he was focused on making “a brilliant success of the New Decade, New Approach deal”.

The secretary of state is also due to meet the family of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane on Friday afternoon.

Mr Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989. There have been long-standing allegations that members of the UK security forces colluded in his murder.

In January, his widow, Geraldine Finucane, was granted leave by the High Court to seek a judicial review as part of her ongoing campaign to secure a public inquiry into her husband’s death.