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St Andrews Agreement

Volume 704: debated on Monday 13 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much time they expect will be needed for the full implementation of the St Andrews agreement; and how they are assessing that process. [HL5373]

Significant progress has been made on the implementation of the St Andrews agreement. Discussions between the Northern Ireland parties on those elements of the agreement which relate to the devolution of policing and justice continue. It is for the parties to agree how and when these powers will devolve. There are also important issues relating to areas already devolved which the Executive need to resolve. The Government regret that the Executive have not met since June. The Government urge the parties to agree a way forward which enables the Executive to resume regular meetings and enables devolution to be completed as soon as possible. The Government believe that there is no single issue that the parties cannot resolve through constructive dialogue, if they are willing to do so, and welcome recent statements by the First and Deputy First Ministers committing them to such dialogue. The Secretary of State assesses progress through his contacts and meetings with the party leaders and with the First and Deputy First Ministers. The Government remain committed to working with the parties to ensure the successful implementation of the St Andrews agreement.