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Statement on Northern Ireland by Minister Flanagan



- Minister discusses Talks with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
- Urges resumption of all-Party Talks

"This morning I spoke to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers. We looked ahead to the resumption of all-party talks in Stormont on Monday. We also discussed the content of her subsequent announcement concerning enhanced support for tackling criminality and the undertaking of a factual assessment by the British Government of the current profile of paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.

"In regard to the British Government’s factual assessment of paramilitarism, this will be a once-off exercise completed over the coming weeks and is intended to assist the parties in the talks in their collective consideration of how the impact and legacy of paramilitary activity should best be addressed. It does not pre-empt the question of possible future monitoring arrangements which will be a matter for consideration and agreement in the talks.

"The Irish Government remains determined that organised crime from whatever quarter and in whatever manifestation continues to be tackled head on. There is already in place a high level of co-operation to deal with the cross-border aspects of such crime. This is evidenced by the fact that, later this month, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald and her Northern Ireland counterpart, David Ford, will host a Conference on Organised Crime in Sligo which will be attended by representatives of An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, customs services, and asset recovery agencies. We are committed to working in partnership to robustly tackle the activities of organised criminals who inflict such damage on our communities.

"The functioning of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland is increasingly precarious. Time is running out for the critical issues to be resolved and collapse of the Executive and Assembly averted. It is therefore imperative that the all-party talks now resume. After ten days of shadow-boxing, it is essential that all of the five main parties in Northern Ireland, with the support of the two Governments, urgently get down to the serious business of fully implementing the Stormont House Agreement and addressing the impact and legacy of continuing paramilitary activity. I look forward to these talks resuming on Monday and making rapid progress."

Press Office
18 September 2015