Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (79)

Michael Moynihan


79. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the fact that the Northern Ireland Assembly has not reconvened. [46419/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The continuing absence of the power-sharing Executive and Assembly in Northern Ireland and the North South Ministerial Council is of grave concern for the Government, as it is for the British Government.

I have engaged extensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland throughout the latest talks process, to encourage the parties to reach an accommodation that will get the Executive, Assembly and the North/South Ministerial Council operating again.

I remain in regular and ongoing contact with Secretary of State Smith as we continue to work to seek an agreement between the parties that will secure this outcome.

All five political parties have engaged constructively in the talks process with that objective over the last number of months. Progress has been made across a range of important issues.

However, some key outstanding issues remain and finding final agreement on these issues will require genuine and courageous dialogue and leadership by the party leaders in Northern Ireland.

People want the devolved power-sharing institutions up and running again to represent their interests and address issues of concern in Northern Ireland at present.

In this context, the political parties - in particular the two largest parties - must live up to their responsibilities and be open to fair and workable compromises on the small number of outstanding issues, to secure the overall interests of people in Northern Ireland and to protect and operate the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement again.

The Governments are determined to use the time immediately ahead to work to get the devolved institutions operating again. Ultimately the challenge is for the parties to find an agreement. This will be difficult, but the two Governments believe that this can, and must, be achieved.