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‘We want Stormont Executive to last’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he wants devolved government in Northern Ireland to last.

The Taoiseach was greeted by First Minister Michelle O’Neill and deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly at Stormont Castle.

They had a meeting inside before Mr Varadkar met the rest of the newly-formed Stormont Executive.

Ms O’Neill and Ms Little-Pengelly welcomed the Taoiseach to the Executive table, before Ms Little-Pengelly said she looked forward to building a constructive relationship with the Taoiseach, “one based on mutual respect”, adding as the closest neighbour, it “makes sense for us to have a constructive relationship – we haven’t always had in the past”.

Mr Varadkar said he was glad to be there, adding there were “various times over the past year or two I didn’t think this day would happen”.

“It’s great that the institutions are back up and running again, we want the Executive to be a success and to last, and keen to help in any way we can but not to interfere, but definitely to help, and keen to see the North South Ministerial Council up and running again as soon as possible, and the British Irish Council as well of course,” he said.

“We’ll have the St Patrick’s Day visits which I think will take on a much more positive feel because in the US they’ll be keen to see the Good Friday Agreement institutions working and the main thing is to try and keep the lines of communication open.”

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