The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., has said the lapse of the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) as a result of the ongoing impasse at Stormont is of ‘great regret’ and is not aiding progress on the A5 road project and other important cross-border initiatives.
He said the resurrection of power-sharing would allow the NSMC to meet again and would also ease progress on the North-South interconnector, which some have warned is criticial to security of electricity supply in the North beyond 2021.
Speaking in the Dáil he said: “I would say to any political party in Northern Ireland or, indeed, on these islands that we should all respect the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and we should all work as hard as we can to make sure those institutions are back up and running again, with the Assembly giving expression to the democratic will of people living in Northern Ireland, and an Executive so that decisions are made not by civil servants or politicians in London or not made at all, but are made in Stormont, Belfast, where they should be made.
“It would also mean we can get the North-South bodies up and running again.
“The bodies still operate but the North-South Ministerial Council does not, which is of great regret when we are talking about important projects ranging from the A5, which is important in connecting Derry and Donegal to Dublin and Leinster, to the North-South interconnector and all the issues that arise as a result of Brexit.”
The Taoiseach said it would be easier to move forward with these vital infrastructure projects if Stormont was back up and running.
“We could manage these issues much better if we had the institutions up and running. I call on everyone to respect the agreement and the decision of the people of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to embrace it and make it work.”