The principles and values of the Good Friday Agreement and the subsequent St. Andrew’s Agreement are essential to peace and reconciliation in Ireland and across these islands. Their key elements include devolution based on power-sharing; agreement on sovereignty; human rights; parity of esteem; and support for the rule of law. These principles have rightly been at the centre of the Government’s approach to politics in Northern Ireland.
The continued shared responsibility of the two governments is to guarantee these principles and to support the implementation of both Agreements. The Irish Government is determined to realise their full potential. This is a vital and challenging responsibility which concerns us all. I continue to underline the urgent importance of fully realising the agreements with our partners in the British Government and with colleagues in the Northern Ireland Executive.
Progress in implementing the Agreements has benefited all of the people of this island. However, there is still work to be done regarding some outstanding elements of the Agreements. These include the introduction of an Irish Language Act for Northern Ireland, the establishment of a North/South Consultative Forum and the implementation of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. These measures have the potential to significantly enrich the cultural and political life of citizens across this island.
The Government will continue to take every opportunity to advance progress on the outstanding elements of the Agreements.