Coveney to meet Bradley for Stormont restoration talks

Northern Secretary meeting politicians in preliminary move to resolve deadlock

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is among the politicians Karen Bradley will meet as part of  tentative efforts to restore Stormont. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is among the politicians Karen Bradley will meet as part of tentative efforts to restore Stormont. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is travelling to Belfast today for talks with Northern Secretary Karen Bradley as part of tentative efforts to restore the Northern Executive and Assembly.

Ms Bradley, as well as meeting Mr Coveney, will also hold talks with the five main Northern parties – the DUP, Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Alliance Party – and the church leaders in Northern Ireland.

Ms Bradley said these meetings were an “important step” in the process of “restarting talks aimed at restoring devolution”.

Northern Ireland has been without a fully functioning Stormont administration since January last year when the late Martin McGuinness resigned as the Sinn Féin deputy first minister.

Committed

“I am deeply committed and determined to see the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland at the earliest opportunity,” said Ms Bradley.

“I am particularly pleased to be meeting church leaders,” she added. “I welcome their recent initiative in meeting the political parties. It appears to have been a constructive discussion and I am keen to encourage the church leaders to continue that dialogue as we strive to seek as wide a consensus as possible on the way forward.

“I believe that the people of Northern Ireland want to see a restoration of their political institutions and that is what this Government is committed to achieving,” said Ms Bradley.