Taoiseach to visit Northern Ireland soon, Michelle O’Neill says

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is planning a visit to Northern Ireland, the deputy First Minister has said.

Michelle O’Neill told a press conference at Stormont that both her and First Minister Arlene Foster had spoken to the new Irish premier on the phone on Monday.

She said she believes the new Taoiseach intends to visit “at some stage over the next number of days”.

“I’ve said that I look forward to working with him in terms of delivering on the commitments of New Decade New Approach and the commitments that were made by both governments, and I look forward to a good working relationship in the time ahead,” she said.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster (right) (Liam McBurney/PA)</figcaption>
Michelle O’Neill and Arlene Foster (right) (Liam McBurney/PA)

Ms O’Neill added that she had raised the North South Ministerial Council with Mr Martin, and urged a meeting, saying “it hasn’t met for some time”.

“I think the North South Ministerial Council meeting will be an opportunity for us to get to know one and other and form good working relationships for the time ahead,” she said.

However the deputy First Minister also expressed her disappointment that no one from Northern Ireland was among the Taoiseach’s nominees to the Seanad (upper house of the Oireachtas in the Republic of Ireland).

“It is disappointing that one of the first actions that this Government has taken has ignored the people of the North,” she said.

“I think Ian Marshall’s appointment in the past was something that was very positive and very engaging, and something that is right and proper for when we plan for what the future looks like here on this island.”

Mrs Foster said she had also congratulated Mr Martin on his position.

“I look forward to working with him on matters of mutual concern for both of our jurisdictions,” she said.

“Of course we look forward to having a positive relationship with him, he is our nearest neighbour and it is important that we have a good conversation and a good relationship.”

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