Statement by Minister Flanagan on Northern Ireland22/5/15
Minister calls on Northern Ireland Parties to consider carefully what is in best interests of Northern Ireland
Speaking today in the context of the current political impasse on welfare reform in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD said:
"Northern Ireland is in a difficult budgetary position. There are no easy choices to be made by the parties represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, the difficult budgetary outlook makes it more important than ever that stable and effective power-sharing government in Belfast presses on with repairing the divisions of the past and building a prosperous and sustainable economy.
The Irish Government supports the power-sharing Executive in the difficult work ahead, including through the further implementation of the Stormont House Agreement. We value greatly our ongoing work with the Northern Ireland Executive, on a North–South basis, to further strengthen the economy and public services for all of the people of this island and to address issues that have caused division in the past.
The process of peace and reconciliation over the past two decades, and the power-sharing political institutions that give expression to this progress, have a value that goes far beyond finding an accommodation within fiscal constraints. This must not be lost sight of in the current circumstances.
The last few days, which included the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, highlighted the potential power of reconciliation across these islands. It would be very regrettable were that visit to be succeeded in short order by a crisis in the political institutions in Belfast. All of the people of Northern Ireland deserve the opportunity to benefit from stable and effective power-sharing government.
I therefore urge all of the parties in the Executive, especially those in a leadership position, to redouble their efforts in the immediate days ahead to resolve the current impasse over welfare, avoid a political confrontation that could jeopardise the continuation of this Assembly and Executive and which would damage public confidence. They need now to refocus their collective endeavour on implementing the Stormont House Agreement in its totality."
22 May 2015