Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Ceisteanna (20)

Brendan Howlin


20. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent discussions with the British Prime Minister regarding Northern Ireland. [19964/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I spoke briefly with Prime Minister May most recently on 15 May when we attended the Christchurch Call to Action meeting in Paris. Whilst we did not have a substantive meeting on that occasion, we recalled our prior meeting on 24 April when we both attended the funeral of Ms Lyra McKee, in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

In coming together with other political leaders we paid tribute to Lyra McKee and gave expression to the clear will and determination of all of the people of these islands to reject violence and to support peace and a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.

At that time Prime Minister May and I agreed to initiate a new round of political talks, involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland, together with the UK and Irish Governments and we issued a joint statement to this effect on 26 April. The aim of these talks is to re-establish to full operation the democratic institutions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement - the NI Executive, Assembly and North-South Ministerial Council.

This talks process started on 7 May in Stormont, led by Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley. As Taoiseach and Prime Minister, we have agreed to review progress at the end of May. The talks are now in their third week and I welcome the constructive engagement by all parties.

Questions Nos. 21 to 24, inclusive, resubmitted.