Dáil Éireann - Volume 588 - 24 June, 2004

Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.

  22. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the Northern Ireland crisis; and if he will report on the efforts being made to restart the Northern Ireland Assembly. [18791/04]

  26. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress made following the reconvening of discussions concerning the review of the Good Friday Agreement; the Government’s precise priorities for the review; and its timeframe. [18825/04]

  107. Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress to date in the negotiations to re-establish the Executive and the Assembly in Northern Ireland. [18985/04]

  Mr. Cowen: I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 26 and 107 together.

On 25 June the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister will meet the parties in London. They will review and assess the overall political situation with the parties before the summer break and explore the basis for a way forward.

In tandem with the ongoing intensive engagement between the two Governments and the parties, the review of the Agreement resumed its meetings on 15 and 16 June following the European elections in Northern Ireland. Meetings also [162] took place on 21 and 22 June. The Government was represented at the meetings on 16 June and 22 June by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Deputy John O’Donoghue.

The meetings on 15 and 21 June focused on Strand One. On 16 June meetings focused on strand two or the North-South issues. On 22 June discussions focused on strand three, particularly the British-Irish Council. The UUP did not attend these review meetings. However, they had a separate political meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. All other parties represented in the Assembly attended the recent meetings of the review.

As the review was convened on 3 February discussion focused on Strands One, Two and Three of the Agreement. A number of the parties suggested changes and improvements to the operation of the Agreement. The two Governments will, with the parties, consider the format that the review will take following the summer recess, particularly in light of those aspects of the Agreement that have not been discussed.

The Taoiseach and Prime Minister will avail of the opportunity to meet the parties later this week. They will encourage all sides to intensify their collective efforts to find a political basis for the full operation of all the political institutions of the Agreement.

Question No. 23 answered with Question No. 6.