Northern Talks to take place in Cardiff
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will today meet Northern Ireland Secretary ofState Peter Hain for talks on the forthcoming elections to the Stormont Assembly
Mr Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair have given the green light for Northern
Ireland Assembly elections scheduled for March 7, but have warned political
parties to adhere to the strict timetable set down in the St Andrews Agreement.
Mr Ahern noted that recent events, such as Sinn Fein's historic endorsement of
policing, offered real hope and a clear-cut opportunity for Northern Ireland.
``If the parties adhere to this agreement and timescale, the people of
Northern Ireland can look forward to the restoration of shared government next
month following the March 7 elections,'' he said in a statement.
He added: ``The elections are taking place on the basis that all parties
understand and accept the ground rules - support for power sharing, support for
policing and a fixed deadline for the new Executive to be in place on March 26.
``There is a very great responsibility on all the parties to rise to the
``The people of Northern Ireland are entitled, after four years of suspension,
to see their elected representatives working actively and openly for them in a
fully restored Assembly and shared government.
The talks are taking place in Cardiff. Afterwards both men will later attend
the Six Nations rugby international between Ireland and Wales at the Millennium