Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Department of An Taoiseach
Last Tuesday, following the resignation of deputy First Minister McGuinness, I met with Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin to discuss developments.
I then spoke by phone to both Martin McGuinness and DUP Leader Arlene Foster to explore the possibility of a resolution to the difficulties.
Later that day I spoke with Prime Minister May to discuss the events. We agreed that our two Governments would continue to work closely on these matters over the coming period and that we would keep in close contact. We also agreed that Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, would work together to see if a way forward could be found before an election had to be triggered.
I spoke with Prime Minister May again last evening when it became clear there would be no nomination of a deputy First Minister and that an election was inevitable.
Minister Flanagan and I remained available over the course of last weekend to assist but unfortunately, a way forward for the Executive could not be found and the date for Assembly elections has now been set for 2 March.
The Government will continue to be proactive in seeking input on Northern Ireland’s interests, as we prepare for the Brexit negotiations.