Statement by Minister Flanagan on Northern Ireland political talks12/4/17
Statement by Minister Flanagan on Northern Ireland political talks
“In the weeks since the Northern Ireland election, the Irish Government has been actively engaged in the talks at Stormont Castle focussed on the implementation of past Agreements, including legacy issues, and the formation of a power-sharing Executive. While fulfilling other responsibilities, I have been present at Stormont every week since the talks began, seeking resolutions to the current difficulties.
“I can say with confidence that there has been some progress, particularly since the move to the more inclusive and structured process of the last two weeks involving all five political parties. However, there are some challenging issues yet to be resolved.
“All parties have made clear that they want to see the devolved power-sharing institutions up and running. That is also the firm objective of both Governments and it is clearly the outcome that serves the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland. In particular, at this critical and challenging time for Northern Ireland as we approach negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the restoration of a power-sharing Executive is essential.
“I welcome the Secretary of State's indication that he will include a provision to allow an Executive to be formed in early May in legislation which he will bring forward after Easter.
“I believe that an agreement that fulfils the mandates given to the parties in the recent election is not only desirable but achievable in that timeframe.
“As the formal talks pause briefly for Easter, I encourage everyone to maintain informal contacts and to reflect on what can be achieved if, in the weeks ahead, an Executive is established that operates effectively and sustainably. I am convinced that all parties are willing to play their part in reaching such a sustainable agreement which will provide for stable power-sharing government in Northern Ireland underpinned by the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Irish Government as a co-guarantor of that Agreement and the peace process will continue to play its part in facilitating these ongoing talks, working with the British Government and encouraging all parties to reach agreement on the formation of a new Executive that is demonstrably in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland.”
12 April 2017