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Statement by Tánaiste on Northern Ireland talks

"Ihave been working intensively with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in recent weeks in the talks at Stormont to support the leaders of the political parties in finding an agreement that will get all of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement up and running again.


We have today seen the introduction by the British Government of an amendment to UK legislation to extend the period for calling an Assembly election.


This step underlines the seriousness of the absence of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, and the urgent requirement for an agreement between the political parties on operating the institutions again. We remain focused on securing agreement in the immediate period ahead.


I would like to acknowledge that all five political parties have engaged constructively in this process with that objective over the last number of weeks.


Progress has been made across a range of important issues.  However, some key outstanding issues remain and finding final agreement on these issues will require genuine and courageous dialogue between the party leaders.


The two largest parties have a particular responsibility to reach an accommodation to secure the formation of a new power-sharing Executive.


The two Governments have called on the parties to continue to participate in this dialogue with each other towards a sustainable accommodation for all.


The Governments and the leads of the Working Groups will also continue to engage with all the parties in discussions on the outstanding issues.


The Governments will have to make an assessment before long on whether it is possible to move quickly in this period to final agreement.


The Government will continue to do everything in its power, in accordance with its responsibilities as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to secure the effective operation of all of its institutions."




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