May, Ireland's Kenny discuss 'seriousness' of Northern Ireland political crisis


 Reuters International

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, Britain January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Irish counterpart Enda Kenny recognised the difficulties and seriousness of the situation in Northern Ireland during a phone call on the political crisis there, May's office said on Wednesday.

After years of bitter compromises, Northern Ireland's power-sharing government collapsed this week with the resignation of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, exposing lingering distrust between Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestant unionists.

"The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach spoke yesterday evening," Downing Street said, referring to May and Kenny.

"They recognised the difficulties and seriousness of the situation in Northern Ireland and how important it was to work together - with the Irish government and the parties of Northern Ireland – to find a solution."

(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison)

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