PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have agreed to work together to bring power sharing back to Northern Ireland.
The pair met while in Belfast this week, at a Queen’s University conference marking the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
During their meeting the leaders “discussed their common goal of ensuring power sharing returns to Stormont as soon as possible”, the Prime Minister’s office has confirmed.
“They reflected on the huge achievements of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and the enduring spirit of cooperation that it had created,” they stated, before adding: “They agreed to maintain close dialogue on issues like dealing with the legacy of the past.”
Following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly were formed.
However both governing institutions have been unable to function since May 2022, when, following Sinn Fein’s historic Assembly Election win, the DUP refused to take up its power-sharing roles until their demands on issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol were addressed.
As it stands that refusal continues and the power-sharing government has yet to reform, with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Agreement now passed.
While noting the impact the continued political stalemate is having on the people of the North, but Mr Sunak and Mr Vardakar were confident that a more prosperous future awaits the region.
“They both agreed on the huge economic potential of the people of Northern Ireland and the Prime Minister outlined the UK Government’s work to increase investment in Northern Ireland,” the Prime Minister’s office confirmed.
“Reflecting on the strong ties between the UK and Ireland, the Prime Minister said that our countries share many interests and values,” they added.
“He expressed his hope that we will be able to deepen collaboration on shared challenges such as energy security, cyber security and sustainability.”