Following the tragic and mindless murder of journalist Lyra McKee, the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland announced that all sides will be embarking on trying to get the power sharing agreement back online.
We have been without a Northern Ireland Assembly for over two years. The peace process is under tremendous strain because of other factors outside of Northern Irish politics – such as Brexit – and we need an executive back in Northern Ireland making decisions for their people.
I wanted to draw the Secretary of State’s attention to the St Andrew agreement struck by Tony Blair and the Northern Ireland office last time power sharing collapsed. We need focus from the very top of government to bring an end to this stalemate and restore peaceful local rule.
The tragic murder of journalist and human rights campaigner Lyra McKee last week in Derry/Londonderry is a dreadful reminder of the fragility of peace in Northern Ireland.
An Urgent Question was granted on Tuesday for MPs to ensure that all is being done by the UK Government to tackle terrorist activity in Northern Ireland.
I asked the Secretary of State how the Government will ensure that the New Irish Republican Army (NIRA), which is a proscribed terrorist organisation will be tackled head on. We need to be clear that being a member, supporting the work of, or promoting their heinous activities is a terrorist offence.
We have tragically lost the life of a promising young talent. Lyra has said in her previous work that she is a child of the peace process. We cannot go back to the dark days of the Troubles. We need to get all parties back around the table and for the power sharing agreement to be restored in Stormont.
It was announced that the UK Government will postpone elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly yet again.
The postponement of these elections means that we avoid having to undertake direct rule. If we ever reach the point of Direct Rule it will be a failure of this Government to get all parties involved around the table.
I noted in my question that way we overcome this impasse last time was by dedicated, and personal intervention, by the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach.
After two years without an Assembly in Northern Ireland, due to the collapse in the power sharing initiative, I am concerned that we are lacking local scrutiny of decisions made whilst the devolved government is out of action.
I asked the Secretary of State what action she was taking to ensure that we have more local involvement in decision making and not merely a process which is like a decision being taken behind a pane of glass – you can see what’s going on, but have no way to impact upon its outcomes.