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Minister Flanagan calls for renewed efforts to resolve Stormont impasse on Welfare Bill


Minister Flanagan calls for renewed efforts to resolve Stormont impasse on Welfare Bill

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., has today called for renewed efforts by the DUP and Sinn Féin to resolve the political impasse regarding the Welfare Bill and not to risk the Stormont House Agreement itself.

Speaking earlier today, Minister Flanagan stated:

“It is deeply disappointing that difficulties have arisen in recent days around the welfare element of the Stormont House Agreement. The sudden onset of this setback has taken us all by surprise. The Irish Government has always been clear that the implementation of political agreements is as challenging as their negotiation. We must not allow a setback on one aspect of the Agreement to affect our approach to implementation of the Agreement as a whole.

“I have spoken with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and made my views clear to him. I have also been in contact with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, and with US Senator Gary Hart.

“There is a common resolve in Dublin, London and Washington to encourage the parties to stand back and consider the overall benefit for the people of Northern Ireland offered by the Stormont House Agreement and to ensure that this potential is not squandered.

“The success of the Agreement is contingent on the faithful implementation of all its provisions. People need to get back around the table and to build on the good work that has already been done towards the Agreement’s implementation over the past two months. The First and deputy First Minister have shown leadership in that regard. I hope that they can now resolve the current impasse on welfare and maintain the forward momentum of the Stormont House Agreement.

“It would be a great shame if the undoubted gains of the Stormont House Agreement, especially the far-reaching agreement reached on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles, were compromised by the events of the past few days.

“I would hope that the First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will have been able to use their time in New York this week, and in advance of St Patrick’s Day, to come to a common understanding on this matter and to find a way of resolving the current impasse”.


Press Office

11 March 2015