Taoiseach and British PM to do all they can to get Northern Executive ‘up and running’

Varadkar says he discussed matter with Sunak last week in Iceland and leaders will meet again next week at Chișinău summit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he and British prime minister Rishi Sunak will do all they can to ensure the Northern Executive is “up and running as soon as is possible”.

Mr Varadkar said he met Mr Sunak briefly last week in Iceland and “discussed this matter”. The Fine Gael leader said they would be meeting again next week at the European Political Community summit in Chișinău.

The Taoiseach was responding to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald in the Dáil on Tuesday, who said following the local Government elections in the North, the clear message was that people want to see the Executive back up and running.

Ms McDonald said it was critical that the British and Irish Governments come together and focus their efforts on the immediate restoration of the Executive and the Assembly.


“This must happen at Taoiseach and prime minister level,” she said. “We need to see an early meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference at that level. Will the Taoiseach work to ensure that happens?”

Mr Varadkar said he and Mr Sunak “will be working together to do all that we can to ensure that the Assembly, the Executive, the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement are back up and running again”.

“You know as well as I do that the rules allow the two major parties, Sinn Féin and the DUP, to block that from happening,” he said.

“The DUP are currently the ones who are blocking that but we are going to work together with the UK Government to do all we can to have it [the Executive] up and running as soon as possible.

“I firmly agree that the message from the people of Northern Ireland is clear. They want the Executive up and running. They want the enormous problems they face on a day-to-day basis dealt with by their politicians.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times