Trimble and Durkan welcome Taoiseach's re-election


Northern Ireland Executive leaders Mr David Trimble and Mr Mark Durkan have this evening said they welcome the stability stemming from the Taoiseach’s re-election. In what was described as a "positive meeting", the Northern Assembly First Minister and Deputy First Minister met together with the Taoiseach at Government Buildings for the first time this afternoon.

The Northern Ireland leaders said Mr Ahern’s re-election was a positive move that would bring about further political stability.

Ulster Unionist leader Mr Trimble said Mr Ahern’s re-election success was "significant" and said it was "an advantage for all of us to have that stability".

He said it was "appropriate" today for the two Northern leaders to come together with Mr Ahern in order to get the British-Irish Council and the North-South body back into "full focus", post-election.

SDLP leader Mr Durkan agreed, saying "the way is clear now to resume the work in the North-South strand and the British-Irish strand."

But, he said, it was also important to move forward and break into new political ground.

The Taoiseach said Fianna Fail would keep Northern Ireland issues at the top of its political agenda, and would continue to give what support it could "in a constructive way, never a threatening way".

During nearly four hours of meetings today, documents were exchanged to be reviewed overnight. The three leaders will resume talks early tomorrow morning.