Belfast Telegraph

NI Secretary: Stormont getting closer to restoration of institutions

Karen Bradley met Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday to discuss the Irish border and the impact of the Brexit negotiations on NI.

Karen Bradley told the BBC Michel Barnier was instrumental in the 1998 Belfast Agreement (Michael Cooper/PA)
Karen Bradley told the BBC Michel Barnier was instrumental in the 1998 Belfast Agreement (Michael Cooper/PA)

Every day Northern Ireland is getting closer to the restoration of powersharing, the Secretary of State said.

She met EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday and said it allowed her to set out the sensitivities in Northern Ireland and the need to maintain the constitutional integrity of the whole UK.

She added they were working constantly on addressing the powersharing impasse at Stormont.

“I meet with all party leaders very regularly, and I know that there is a real desire and wish to get people back into Stormont and have that Executive in place.

“But there are some issues we need to overcome and we are working on them.

“I think every day we are getting closer.”

She told the BBC Mr Barnier was instrumental in the 1998 Belfast Agreement when it was first being worked on 20 years ago.

“So I think he probably has more of an insight than many people do.”

She said ministers were working across Cabinet on all matters to make sure that they can resolve the Irish border and no border down the Irish Sea through the overall UK relationship.

“That’s what we all want to achieve. But obviously we need to put into legal text those matters that were agreed in the Joint Report and that’s what we’re working on.”

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