By Cate McCurry, PA
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has welcomed an agreement between political parties in Northern Ireland to appoint Stormont leaders later on Thursday.
The agreement comes following a night of intensive talks over Irish language laws.
The UK Government committed to pass stalled legislation at Westminster if Stormont fails to enact the laws by the autumn.
The development came after a night of talks involving Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and DUP and Sinn Féin delegations in Belfast.
Welcome news that the DUP and Sinn Fein will nominate a First Minister and deputy First Minister. for the NI Executive.
The stability of the Executive and the full operation of all the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement are critical for peace and progress.
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) June 16, 2021
Mr Martin said he “warmly welcomes” the news that the DUP and Sinn Féin will move to nominate a First Minister and deputy First Minister for the Northern Ireland Executive.
“The stability of the Northern Ireland Executive and the full operation of all the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement are critical for the peace and security of the people of Northern Ireland, and for all the people of these islands,” he said in a statement.
“Finding a way forward on delivery of key commitments in the New Decade, New Approach agreement is important progress.
“I look forward to working closely with the First Minister and deputy First Minister.
“We share significant challenges ahead to build economic and societal recovery as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There is much we can do together in terms of practical cooperation for the benefit of people across this island.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney also welcomed the development, saying it will allow the Northern Ireland Executive to continue its “essential work” on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland.
Mr Coveney said the package of language and identity legislation agreed in New Decade, New Approach deal was “detailed and balanced” and should be implemented.
“This would be better done in the Assembly as agreed last year but it is welcome that the Secretary of State has given an assurance these positive measures agreed in support of linguistic diversity and cultural expression in Northern Ireland are now to be put in place through legislation in Westminster if necessary,” Mr Coveney said.
“We look forward to working with the First and deputy First Minister, and all the parties in the Northern Ireland Executive, to the mutual benefit of people North and South, including at the next plenary meeting of the North South Ministerial Council which is planned for Friday in Armagh.”