Talks between Dublin and London to intensify to get Stormont restored, says Taoiseach
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said no timeline can be put on when powersharing would be back up and running, however
Talks with the UK government are to “intensify” in a bid to get Stormont up and running again, Leo Varadkar has said.
The Taoiseach said he will be stepping up talks with British Prime Minister Sunak in the coming weeks to try to get Stormont running again.
“We’re working towards having the institutions up and running in the next few months,” he said.
Sunak said the political leaders who delivered the 1998 Good Friday Agreement showed "bravery, perseverance and political imagination” to get the historic accord over the line.
Ahead of US President Joe Biden’s four-day visit to the island of Ireland, Sunak called on the northern parties to “get on with the business of governance” and restore the Stormont Assembly.
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement largely ended Northern Ireland's three decade-long violent conflict.
Biden will arrive into Belfast on Tuesday amid heightened security concerns of dissident agitation before travelling south to Dublin on Wednesday.
Paying his tribute to the agreement, Sunak said it was "born of partnership between the British and Irish governments. As we will see from President Biden's visit this week, it continues to enjoy huge international support from our closest allies," he said.
"But most importantly it is based on compromise in Northern Ireland itself. As we look forward, we will celebrate those who took difficult decisions, accepted compromise, and showed leadership - showing bravery, perseverance, and political imagination. We commemorate those who are no longer with us and the many who lost their lives by trying to prevent violence and protect the innocent,” he said.
"We give thanks to them as we reflect on the new generations that have grown up and continue to grow in a world in which peace and prosperity has prevailed,” he added.
Sunak said political leaders and their parties must also recommit to redoubling their efforts on the promise made in 1998 and the agreements that followed.
"One of economic opportunity, prosperity and stability - it is a promise we must continue to fulfil," he said.
Meanwhile, Sunak’s Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said no timeline can be put on when powersharing would be back up and running.
“Anybody who is predicting a date by which the executive would go back in Northern Ireland would be someone who can also sell you a four-leaf clover. No one knows – deadlines are deadly in Northern Ireland term,” he said.
He said the people of Northern Ireland are being directly impacted because of an ongoing lack of locally accountable devolved government.
Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), has insisted the political vacuum in the nation caused by his party’s refusal to re-enter Stormont is not to blame.
In February last year the DUP pulled its support for the powersharing institutions over its opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol.