Taoiseach and Prime Minister should attend Intergovernmental Conference

28 June 2018

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has welcomed the long awaited announcement of a date for a British-Irish Intergovernmental conference on 25th July but said it is necessary now for the Taoiseach and Prime Minister to both attend, and engage at summit level to achieve real and lasting progress.

Deputy Howlin said:

“For 18 months the people of Northern Ireland have been left without a functioning government whilst era defining developments on Brexit progressed without their voices being heard.

“Since last year I have been calling for an intergovernmental conference, and supported the view of our sister party, the SDLP that only such a format would resolve the outstanding issues on both sides.

“The failure of talks earlier this year when both the Taoiseach and Prime Minister traveled to Belfast for what we assumed was a done deal was followed by backlash and recriminations that showed once again the need for deeper engagement by both governments.

“The long awaited date for an intergovernmental conference is welcome, and I hope it will finally lead to some progress but time is rapidly passing, and the social and economic problems faced by Northern Ireland remain unresolved.

“The Taoiseach and Prime Minister sought the glory in February but this time I believe it is necessary for both to attend the conference at a summit level, and fully engage to resolve the outstanding issues and ensure Northern Ireland.

“The last such summit conference with both the Taoiseach and Prime Minister attending was in 2005.”

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