Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Ceisteanna (80)

Brendan Howlin


80. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach the division of responsibilities between his Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in respect of Northern Ireland affairs. [21023/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

As you would expect, there is close cooperation between my Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which has primary responsibility for matters relating to Northern Ireland, North South cooperation and British Irish relations. Officials from the two Departments work very closely together across the range of issues relating to Northern Ireland and British Irish affairs.

Within my Department, the Northern Ireland section supports me, in my role as Taoiseach, on Northern Ireland matters. The Section also supports me and in my contacts with the British Prime Minister more broadly in the context of the role of the two Governments as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and in the ongoing efforts to secure the restoration of the institutions under the Agreement.

It assists me with my participation in key institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, such as the North South Ministerial Council (when operational),the British Irish Council and in other aspects of cross-border engagement and cooperation.

As part of its role, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides staff and funding to the British Irish Inter-Governmental Secretariat in Belfast and the North-South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat in Armagh.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and his staff are also in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the main political parties in Northern Ireland in relation to matters of concern to the Irish Government including issues relating to the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements, talks on the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive and of course Brexit.