Belfast Telegraph

Restoring Stormont 'is our top priority' says Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley

Restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland is the UK government’s “number one priority”, Karen Bradley has said.

The Secretary of State, writing in the Telegraph on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, said the 1998 deal was an “achievement of historic magnitude” that must be protected.

“Nobody should be in any doubt," she said. "This Conservative Government will stand firm behind an agreement which, along with its successors, has been the bedrock of all that has been achieved over the past 20 years.

"Everything we do will have as its core aims the protection and implementation of the agreement, including, of course, as we leave the European Union.”

Talks to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland collapsed in February, with the DUP and Sinn Fein at loggerheads over an Irish Language Act 

Ms Bradley called on the two parties to return to the talks with a view to reaching an agreement.

“The restoration of devolved government at Stormont must be our number one priority," she said.

"I still believe that this is achievable and, as we reflect on the anniversary of the 1998 agreement, all of us need to redouble our efforts to make it a reality. Only then, with all parts of the agreement working properly, we will be in a position to build a Northern Ireland that is fit for the future. That is our goal and we are determined to achieve that.”

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