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Statement by Minister Flanagan: Northern Ireland elections and the way forward


Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Northern Ireland elections and the way forward

Following the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, spoke this morning with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, and with a number of the main party leaders in Northern Ireland.

After respective consultations with the Taoiseach and Prime Minister, both Governments are agreed on the need for intensive engagement – as set out below - to address outstanding issues and commitments from previous agreements and to ensure the early establishment of an Executive which can operate effectively and deliver for all of the people of Northern Ireland in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

Minister Flanagan said:

“Secretary of State Brokenshire and I agreed that it was of the utmost importance for the people of Northern Ireland that the political institutions, established under the Good Friday Agreement, promptly resume their work, not least so that they can effectively engage with the issues raised by Brexit. In my conversations with party leaders, I congratulated each of them on the electoral mandate they had achieved and encouraged them to play their part in creating the conditions that allow for the formation of a new power-sharing Assembly and Executive.”

There is a need for immediate discussions with the parties in Northern Ireland focused on (a) addressing outstanding issues, including the implementation of past agreements and addressing the legacy of the past; and (b) on the formation of a new power-sharing Executive. Both parts of these discussions are essential and inter-dependent.

Dealing with outstanding issues from previous agreements will be necessary to create confidence at this critical moment for devolution in Northern Ireland. All parties eligible to nominate Ministers to the Executive will be invited to participate in these discussions which, in accordance with previous agreements, will be facilitated by the two Governments.

There is a three week window for the formation of a new Executive. The political parties have each received fresh mandates. Particular responsibilities attach to the two parties who are entitled to nominate a First Minister and deputy First Minister to engage with each other, and to advance discussions with all eligible political parties, on the formation of a new Executive.

Minister Flanagan concluded:

“The heart of the Good Friday Agreement is its interlocking political institutions. However, they can only be sustained on the basis of partnership, equality and mutual respect. As a co-guarantor, the Irish Government is determined to uphold the principles of the Agreement and to protect its institutions. In the coming weeks, we will work with all concerned to see the power-sharing Assembly and Executive restored to effective and harmonious operation.”


Press Office

05 March 2017