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Taoiseach | Update on recent discussion with political parties in Northern Ireland in the context of the Shared Island Initiative

To ask the Taoiseach the extent of any recent discussions with the various political parties in Northern Ireland in the context of the Shared Island Initiative.
                                                                                          – Bernard J. Durkan.


A Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 1 to 7 together.

As provided for in the Programme for Government, we are taking forward our Shared Island investment objectives and working with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future, underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.

In my discussions to date with political party leaders in Northern Ireland I have set out the Government’s continued implementation of our Shared Island initiative.

I have also made clear that the Government is ready to undertake significantly more all-island investment co-operation with a new Executive and with the British Government, as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement.

So far this year, Government Ministers have commenced new Shared Island programmes for civil society, electric vehicle charging and community climate action, on an all-island basis.

We want to do more this year including on education, higher education, healthcare, enterprise and innovation, and climate action.

All Departments continue to develop potential Shared Island projects for consideration by Government, in consultation with counterparts in Northern Ireland, a wide range of stakeholders on the island, and the British Government, as appropriate.

Inclusive dialogue with all communities on common concerns for the future is also continuing. The first event in a refreshed Shared Island dialogue programme will be held next month, looking at how media represents the whole island and different communities and perspectives, both North and South.

On Monday (6 March), the latest report under the Shared Island research programme was published by the Economic and Social Research Institute on ‘Migrant Integration in Ireland and Northern Ireland’, with an event attended by over 150 people.

The All-Island Women’s Forum is a very welcome contribution to the Shared Island initiative, convened by the National Women’s Council and in receipt of funding via the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Forum provides an important space for civic dialogue led by women, contributing to wider public debate and helping to shape the all-island agenda.

Finally, it is critical that we get the Northern Ireland Executive and North South institutions in place again as soon as possible. The Government is working intensively to that end.

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