Published on 

Taoiseach has extensive meetings with DUP & Sinn Féin leaders

20170616 Arlene Foster Post

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar meets with DUP Leader Arlene Foster in Government Buildings

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had separate meetings with delegations from the DUP and Sinn Féin at Government Buildings today.

Both meetings involved detailed discussion on a range of issues including the urgent need to re-establish the Northern Ireland Executive, and Brexit.

The DUP delegation included Arlene Foster and Simon Hamilton, while Sinn Féin were represented by Michelle O'Neill, Michelle Gildernew, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, joined the Taoiseach for the meeting with Sinn Féin.

In both meetings, there was agreement on the need to re-establish the Northern Ireland Executive urgently, noting the deadline of 29 June for completion of negotiations. There was also agreement on the importance of a functioning Executive in the context of the Brexit negotiations due to start next week.

20170616 Michelle O'Neill Post

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar greets Sinn Féin Leader Michelle O'Neill outside Government Buildings

The Taoiseach made clear that he and his Government would work in support of the Northern Ireland parties to re-establish the Executive, and in pursuit of strong North-South relations including through the North South Ministerial Council.

He stressed the objectives of ensuring that Brexit does not impact negatively on the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process, and protecting North-South trade and economic activity and the Common Travel Area.

The Taoiseach raised the ongoing discussions on formation of a new Government in London with the DUP, which is a matter for the parties represented at Westminster, but noted the need to avoid any outcome which could interfere with devolution and the prospects of re-establishing the Executive.

Finally, the Taoiseach noted opportunities for investment in infrastructure which could be of benefit on both parts of the island, and agreed that discussions on this should continue.