Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (40)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

40. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the recent discussions he has had with authorities in the United States of America in relation to the appointment of a special envoy to Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9197/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Successive US Administrations have provided immensely valuable support to the peace process over the last three decades, and this support continues to be provided by the current US Administration, as well as by our many friends in Congress. The Government strongly appreciates the sustained engagement by the current US Administration, including by the US State Department, in relation to Northern Ireland and we look forward to this continuing into the future. In this regard, the Government would very much welcome the appointment of a Special Envoy for Northern Ireland by the current Administration, as part of its continuing support for the Peace Process. I will be meeting with members of the US Administration in Washington tomorrow.

With regard to the Peace Process and the current situation in Northern Ireland, I will be emphasising the importance of continued support and engagement by the US Administration and Congress as efforts continue to get the devolved, power-sharing institutions of the Agreement operating again as quickly as possible.

I will also be underlining that, notwithstanding the current challenges, the twentieth anniversary in April of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement will

be a very important moment to recognise and affirm the achievement of lasting peace in Northern Ireland, as well as the transformation in political relationships which the Agreement has enabled.

This has been achieved with the constant and immensely valuable support and friendship of the United States Government and people, every step of the way over the last three decades. To protect and further this historic collective achievement, all of us with responsibilities, interest and influence should continue to work to advance peace and reconciliation, with the Good Friday Agreement as the unshakeable foundation of the Peace Process.