Tánaiste meets Secretary of State for Northern Ireland29 May 2014
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., met Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, today to discuss developments in the Northern Ireland Party Leaders’ Talks.
The Tánaiste and Secretary of State Villiers both underlined the urgent need for progress on the talks in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the meeting, the Tánaiste said:
“The Secretary of State and I discussed recent political developments in Northern Ireland, including the resumption of Party Leaders’ Talks. We are concerned that the Party Leaders’ meeting to discuss proposals on flags, parades and dealing with the past, which was scheduled to take place this week, did not proceed as planned. It is in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland that these talks resume as quickly as possible. The Northern Ireland Executive needs to show leadership and resolve in the face of the many difficult decisions that must be taken at this time.
“Secretary of State Villiers and I share the expectation that Party Leaders will seek to progress these matters in the coming weeks. The British and Irish Governments will actively support the talks. We will be reviewing the situation over the coming days and will meet again on this matter.”
Notes to the editor
- The Panel of Parties talks on Parades, Flags and Contending with the Past under the Chairmanship of Richard Haass and the Vice-Chairmanship of Meghan O’Sullivan concluded in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, 2013.
- A Party Leaders’ Meeting due to take place on 27 May did not proceed.
- Since January, four of the five political parties in the Executive (the UUP withdrew at the end of March) have been meeting to discuss the next steps, working together with the common goal of reaching a final agreement as soon as possible.
- The Panel of Parties Talks arose from an initiative by First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as part of the NI Executive’s “Together: Building a United Community” Strategy aimed at improving community relations and continuing Northern Ireland’s journey towards a more united and reconciled society.