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Minister Flanagan meets the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Minister Flanagan meets the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to discuss ways forward on dealing with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s troubled past

Speaking following his meeting today in Dublin with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers MP, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, stated:

“The Secretary of State and I had this morning a very useful discussion on how best to take forward the implementation of the provisions of the Stormont House Agreement dealing the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland.

"We both shared the deep disappointment of the victims and survivors of the Troubles and their families that it did not prove possible to resolve all the outstanding issues during the recent political talks in Northern Ireland. We agreed to continue our efforts to secure an agreed basis for the establishment of the new institutional framework for dealing with the past as agreed in the Stormont House Agreement and that these new institutions offer the best way of bring whatever healing is possible to victims, survivors and their loved ones.

"In the meantime, contacts will continue with victims groups and the political parties in Northern Ireland to discuss their concerns and explore possible ways forward. I made clear to the Secretary of State that the Irish Government’s priority is to protect and promote the needs of victims and that any solution to the current difficulties must seek to satisfy their concerns so that we can ensure a better outcome for them. We agreed that finding a solution is not only of paramount importance for victims and survivors but for underpinning peace and reconciliation across our islands. I will stay in regular contact with the Secretary of State in the coming weeks as we continue our efforts to resolve this issue.

"I also raised with the Secretary of State the Dublin Monaghan bombings and her commitment to reflect afresh on this case in light of the All Party Dáil motions of 2008 and 2011. Taking account of these motions, the Secretary of State and I had a very substantial discussion on possible ways forward and we agreed to return to this discussion in the very near future.

"The Secretary of State and I also discussed my concerns with regard to the current situation in Maghaberry prison and I asked her to do what she can to improve the situation within her area of responsibility. This followed my discussion with the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice, David Ford, on 11 December.

"Finally, we briefly discussed the implementation of the Fresh Start Agreement. Recognising the importance of this agreement for the stability and sustainability of the devolved power sharing institutions in Northern Ireland, we welcomed the good work already underway on implementation and agreed that this momentum must be maintained if the benefits of the agreement are to be realised. This is the responsibility of all the parties to the Agreement and we looked forward to discussing the implementation of the Agreement with the First Minister and deputy First Minister at the first review meeting which will be held on 14 January.”

After their bilateral, the Minister and the Secretary of State will participate in a trilateral meeting together with the Minister for Justice and Equality, the First and deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice. This meeting will focus on the elements of the Fresh Start Agreement dealing with cross-border organised crime including the establishment of a Joint Agency Task Force.

Press Office

21 December 2015