DUP Executive ministers have until mid-day tomorrow (13 October) to confirm that DUP ministers will re-engage with North-South Ministerial Council meetings following yesterday’s landmark ruling which ruled their boycott of cross-border business “unlawful”.
In a letter sent to the Executive legal office and seen by belfastmedia.com, solicitor Paul Farrell, acting on behalf of South Belfast businessman Sean Napier, informed Stormont that if an undertaking is not received by midday tomorrow then the matter will be referred back to court.
Failure by the DUP to move could unleash the "sorry spectacle" of court penalties alluded to yesterday in his judgement by Mr Justice Scoffield.
In the letter to the Executive, Mr Farrell says: “I am instructed to seek an Undertaking from you that the Respondent Ministers will abide by the terms of the Court’s Declaration and Judgement and will now engage with and participate in the North South Ministerial Council in accordance with their legal obligations and duties arising out of the Northern Ireland Act, the Ministerial Code and the Pledge of Office. Please provide us with the above Undertaking by Wednesday 13th October at 12 noon, failing which we will refer the matter back to the Court."
In an interview with belfastmedia.com earlier today, the medical supplies businessman said he had taken the court case in defence of the peace process.
This latest development comes as First Minister Paul Givan faced an Urgent Oral Question on the issue in the Assembly from Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson.
Mr Dickson asked if the North-South Ministerial meetings would resume in light of the judgement.
Responding, the First Minister said: “The judgement in a matter of an application by Sean Napier for judicial review received by the Department this morning is currently being considered."
The First Minister added that he wanted to see a political solution to the problem and said that he looked forward to seeing the proposals brought forward by the EU tomorrow in respect of the Brexit protocol. “Whenever you trash East-West relationships you undermine the basis on which the Belfast Agreement was founded," he added. "That has knock-on effects whenever it comes to North-South relations."