Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (69, 77)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

69. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on his recent engagements with leaders of political parties in Northern Ireland. [17879/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

77. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the outcome of the most recent discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in relation to the need to have the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21054/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 77 together.

Over the course of many months, the Irish and British Governments, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, have worked tirelessly to support and facilitate the parties in their efforts to form an Executive.

The devolved, power-sharing institutions are at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement and are the best means for achieving accountable, representative decision-making for all the people of Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, to date, it has not proved possible to reach an agreement on the formation of an Executive, despite intensive engagement. In light of this, the Government has been working with the British Government to consider means by which we can support the political process, in accordance with the Agreement, in the period ahead.

The Taoiseach has spoken with Prime Minister May and emphasised the Government’s full commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, and our continuing determination to secure the effective operation of all of its institutions.

I am in very regular contact with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, as we seek a way beyond the current impasse. I met most recently with Secretary of State Bradley on 3 May and we spoke further by phone last week, on 9 May.

Over the last few weeks, the Secretary of State and I have each been conducting a round of contacts with the Northern Ireland political parties, to hear their views on how at this stage the two Governments can support the political process, in accordance with the Agreement.

All parties have re-affirmed their commitment to operating the devolved institutions and provided views on their key concerns and issues to be addressed in seeking a way forward.

In light of these consultations, the Secretary of State and I will consider how best the two Governments, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, can chart a way forward that will give the best prospects for getting the devolved institutions operating again without delay.

I will continue to engage intensively, working with Secretary of State Bradley and the leaders of all of the political parties, until that is achieved.

The Good Friday Agreement is the indispensable framework for providing stable, inclusive, power-sharing government for all the people of Northern Ireland and for sustaining our interlocking relationships – within Northern Ireland, on the island of Ireland and between the UK and Ireland.