Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin welcomed today’s developments in the talks on Northern Ireland after three months of deadlock and delay.

Deputy Martin said: “While the broad agreement reached today is very welcome and long overdue it cannot be taken for granted.  The failure of the parties and the Irish and British governments to make significant progress up to this point has caused great frustration.  However there are signs today that all sides know they need to do better to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland and they are taking steps along that journey.

“As I have repeatedly said over the last number of years, the combination of Governmental disengagement, Northern Ireland Executive dysfunction and Northern political party cynicism is a mix that has undermined public confidence in the peace process and I hope we are seeing an end to that with today’s agreement.

“A lack of real progress and genuine co-operation among the parties in government at Stormont would be a betrayal of the enormous work that has been done over very many years.

“All parties need to redouble their efforts now to regain the confidence of ordinary working families and communities.  Unfortunately, in many quarters, confidence has already turned to cynicism and a particular effort will be needed to redress this.

“The issues affecting Northern Ireland need careful and constant attention. The paralysis we have witnessed did not come about by accident. A lack of regular engagement by the Irish and British governments over recent years has played a significant part and this must change.”