Sunday 26 May 2019

'What is now needed is actions' - Taoiseach and British Prime Minister confirm new Stormont talks

  • Varadkar and May set out timetable for Northern Ireland talks
  • Renewed efforts to re-establish institutions come after murder of journalist Lyra mcKee
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, British Prime Mnister Theresa May and President Michael D Higgins before the funeral service for murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast
Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, British Prime Mnister Theresa May and President Michael D Higgins before the funeral service for murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May have set out an end of May target for progress on talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive.

They said they came together with other political leaders at the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee and “gave expression to the clear will and determination of all of the people of these islands to reject violence and to support peace and a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

In a joint statement they said that they have agreed to establish a new process of political talks involving all of the main parties in Northern Ireland and both the Irish and British governments.

“In coming together with other political leaders in St Anne’s Cathedral to pay tribute to Lyra McKee, we gave expression to the clear will and determination of all of the people of these islands to reject violence and to support peace and a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland," it reads.

“We also heard the unmistakable message to all political leaders that people across Northern Ireland want to see a new momentum for political progress.  We agree that what is now needed is actions and not just words from all of us who are in positions of leadership.

“We have agreed to establish a new process of political talks, involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland, together with the UK and Irish Governments, in accordance with the three stranded process.  The aim of these talks is quickly to re-establish to full operation the democratic institutions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement - the NI Executive, Assembly and North-South Ministerial Council - so that they can effectively serve all of the people for the future.

“We have asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Tánaiste to meet later today in Belfast to set out our proposed approach and to commence the talks process as soon as possible after the local elections in Northern Ireland.

"In addition, we have agreed that there should be a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference during the same period. The Conference will consider East/West relations, security cooperation, and political stability in Northern Ireland.

“We understand the complexity of the underlying concerns of all parties, and the need for renewed trust, mutual respect, generosity and new thinking to resolve the issues.

“As Prime Minister and Taoiseach, we are determined to work together to ensure this process comes to a successful conclusion.

“We will review progress at the end of May.”

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley are meeting today to set out the proposed approach and to commence the talks process as soon as possible after the local elections in Northern Ireland.

In addition Mr Varadkar and Mrs May have agreed that there should be a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference during the same period.

The Conference will consider East/West relations, security cooperation, and political stability in Northern Ireland.

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