Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has welcomed the decision not to hold Stormont Assembly elections before Christmas.
On Friday, Mr Coveney tweeted: “Fully share the Secretary of State’s objective; restoration of functioning institutions in NI.
“We had a good discussion this week, including on legal obligations under NDNA (New Decade New Approach).
“No election pre-Christmas is welcome and creates space for progress on other matters. We remain in contact.”
On Friday, Chris Heaton Harris, Northern Ireland Secretary, confirmed that the elections would not take place before Christmas.
Fully share the Secretary of State’s objective; restoration of functioning institutions in NI. We had a good discussion this week, including on legal obligations under NDNA. No election pre Christmas is welcome & creates space for progress on other matters.
We remain in contact. https://t.co/v1c5YbQb5Q
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) November 4, 2022
Chris Heaton Harris said he will outline his next steps in the UK parliament in London.
Mr Heaton Harris is obliged to call an election within 12 weeks of October 28th when the deadline for the Northern parties to form a fresh executive ran out.
He met the parties earlier this week, as well as Mr Coveney.
Speculation was heightened on Wednesday after Steve Baker, a junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office, insisted the date for an election will be confirmed soon.
But in a statement on Friday morning, Mr Heaton-Harris said he had listened to concerns about the impact and the cost of an election at this time.
A DUP boycott of the devolved institutions, in protest at post-Brexit trade arrangements under the Northern Ireland Protocol, has prevented an administration being formed in the wake of the election result.