Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Ceisteanna (109)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

109. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he has recently met the leader of the DUP, Mrs. Arlene Foster, and the vice president of Sinn Féin, Ms Michelle O'Neill. [29524/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

The Tánaiste and I met with Ms Mary Lou McDonald T.D. and Ms Michelle O'Neill MLA on 18 June in Leinster House when we discussed the current political situation in Northern Ireland and Brexit. We discussed what could be done to get the institutions in Northern Ireland up and running again. Once again, I emphasised the Government’s full commitment to all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, and our continuing determination to secure the effective operation of all of its institutions.

The Government wants to see an agreement in place to secure the operation of the devolved institutions and we will continue to engage with the British Government and the political parties in Northern Ireland to seek to progress that in the period immediately ahead.

Ultimately the challenge is for the parties to find an agreement. This will be difficult, but the two Governments believe that this can, and must, be achieved to get the devolved, power-sharing Assembly and Executive and the NSMC functioning again.

I last met with DUP Leader Arlene Foster while in the United States for St. Patrick’s Day. We discussed the situation regarding Brexit, as it stood at the time, including prospects for ratification by the UK of the Withdrawal Agreement. We also discussed political developments in Northern Ireland, including the importance of the restoration of the institutions under the Good Friday Agreement. I also spoke with Ms Foster at events we were both attending.

The Tánaiste has engaged extensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and with the leaders of the political parties there in every week of the talks so far, to encourage the parties to reach an accommodation, and I receive regular updates from the Tánaiste and from my officials who are involved in the talks process.