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Taoiseach's Meetings and Engagements

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 5 May 2021

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Questions (12, 13)

Neale Richmond


12. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Taoiseach the status of his most recent communications with the Northern Ireland First and Deputy First Ministers following recent events in Northern Ireland. [19970/21]

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Peadar Tóibín


13. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent engagements with the First Minister of Northern Ireland. [20478/21]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12 and 13 together.

I spoke with First Minister Arlene Foster last Wednesday to wish her well after her announcement that she would be stepping down as First Minister of Northern Ireland and as leader of the DUP.

I have had a positive working relationship with Arlene in a variety of roles over the years. She has served during what has been a period of considerable change and challenge in Northern Ireland.

The re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Executive in January 2020 with Arlene Foster as First Minister and Michelle O’Neill as deputy First Minister was a key development in supporting peace and stability for all the people of these islands.

I send my best wishes to Arlene and her family for the future.

On the 9th of April, I had phone calls with First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. We discussed the current unrest on the streets in Northern Ireland and related issues. We agreed that there was no excuse for violence and the attacks on police officers and others. I stressed the need for ongoing dialogue and support for the peace process and the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. I also welcomed the Statement from the Northern Ireland Executive published on 8th April condemning the violence and unrest on the streets. We agreed to keep in close contact on developments.

I am conscious that discussions are continuing between the EU and the UK regarding aspects of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. I am hopeful that the current discussions will lead to mutually agreed arrangements which in turn will contribute to effective implementation of the protocol.

As previously outlined to the Dáil, I have also spoken with the First and deputy First Ministers on a number of occasions, in particular regarding Covid-19 and our respective approaches to the implementation of, and easing of, restrictions.

Question No. 14 resubmitted.