Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ceisteanna (41)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

41. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposals there are to have talks resumed in relation to the need to have the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9198/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

As co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government, working with the British Government, has spared no effort in supporting and facilitating talks on the formation of a new Executive, over many months. Fully functioning, devolved, power-sharing Institutions are the only way forward for Northern Ireland, and are urgently required. Last week’s developments in Stormont are of serious concern to all of us who want to see the establishment of a functioning, power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland, and the other Institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Government is working with the British Government to see if there is any prospect of re-engagement with the parties in the period ahead.

The Taoiseach spoke with Prime Minister May on Monday and emphasised the Government's full commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, and its determination to secure the effective operation of all its institutions.

I spoke with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the same day as part of our regular engagement, as we work to seek a way forward from the current impasse in the discussions to secure the formation of a new Executive.

As co-guarantor of the Agreement, the Government will continue to engage with the British Government and the political parties in Northern Ireland to support the urgent formation of a new Executive by the mandated political parties. The Taoiseach and I met with Sinn Féin on Monday and we are also keeping in contact with the other parties.

The Government’s firm position is that the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent Agreements must be implemented in full, and in this context the Taoiseach and I have been clear that the Government does not want to see the introduction of direct rule in Northern Ireland.

As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, the British and Irish Governments have an obligation to uphold and protect the letter and spirit of that Agreement, and we will also be considering how best to do so in the current situation.