For Written Answer on : 15/02/2018
Question Number(s): 94 Question Reference(s): 7977/18
Department: Foreign Affairs and Trade
Question No. 94
Parliamentary Question – Oireachtas
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress to date in the talks regarding the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Brendan Smith.
* For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 15th February, 2018.
Ref No: 7977/18
As co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government, working with the British Government, has spared no effort in supporting and facilitating talks on the formation of a new Executive, over many months. Fully functioning, devolved, power-sharing Institutions are the only way forward for Northern Ireland, and are urgently required.
Yesterday’s developments in Stormont, in particular the DUP statement, are obviously of serious concern to all of us who want to see the establishment of a functioning, power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland, and the other Institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.
I was in regular contact with the Secretary of State yesterday, both before and following this announcement, and will remain in close contact as we reflect on the next steps the two Governments need to take in relation to the political process.
The two Governments have worked steadfastly together over the past year, assisting and facilitating the parties in their efforts to reach agreement on the formation of a new power-sharing Executive. In recent days, we believed that there was a genuine basis for an accommodation between the two largest parties. Such an accommodation would then have facilitated broader engagement with all the political parties on the establishment of a new Executive.
Ultimately, however, devolved power-sharing government can only operate on the basis of an agreement between the two largest parties. Unfortunately, this has not been achieved to date, despite intensive engagement.
The Government is working with the British Government to see if there is any prospect of re-engagement with the parties in the period ahead.
As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, the British and Irish Governments have an obligation to uphold and protect the letter and spirit of that Agreement, and we will also be considering how best to do so in the current situation.