Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Ceisteanna (20, 21)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

20. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meeting with the British Prime Minister. [27635/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Neale Richmond

Ceist:

21. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meeting with the UK Prime Minister. [27647/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 21 together.

I met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Chequers on Friday 14th May.

We had constructive engagement across a number of issues. Our discussions focused on ways our two Governments can continue to work together to support all the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and promote peace and prosperity on both a North/South and East/West basis. We also discussed issues around implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

We discussed the long journey of the Ballymurphy families for justice to vindicate the innocence of their loved ones. In this context I emphasised the importance of the British Government responding to the families in a way that recognises the gravity of the findings which categorically established that ten innocent people were killed.

As well as discussing Ballymurphy specifically, Prime Minister Johnson and I spoke about legacy issues, and of how best to secure progress and answers for the many families who have been pursuing truth and justice now for far too many years.

I was clear with the Prime Minister that every family bereaved in the conflict should have access to an effective investigation and to a process of justice, regardless of the perpetrator. The Stormont House Agreement framework allows for the crucial elements we need – investigations, truth recovery, oral history, reconciliation and acknowledgement.

While the Government is ready to engage and work with the British Government and the Northern Ireland parties in relation to any concerns around the aspects of the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, I made clear that this must be a collaborative and collective process.

I also made clear that unilateral action cannot be the basis of any sustainable way forward.

We will continue to engage with the UK Government on this.

We also discussed British-Irish relations, and we are both ambitious for the development of the next phase of the bilateral relationship framed around a number of areas of common interest, including research and innovation, sport, and tackling climate change.

We had a good exchange on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the value of working together.

The Prime Minister and I agreed to remain in close touch over the coming weeks.