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Question

45. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the recruitment process for the post of Garda Commissioner; the timeframe to fill the post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51744/17]

Answer

: On reflection, it must now be very clear to all that the contrived collapse of the Executive and the Assembly has not served the people of Northern Ireland well. It would have facilitated the articulation of different perspectives on Brexit in a democratically elected forum. In short, it would have given a voice to the people of Northern Ireland on a most profound issue. Our agenda and that of the majority in the Oireachtas, I believe, is to limit the economic damage a hard Brexit would do to this island - nothing more and nothing less. The Good Friday Agreement upholds the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the formula of words of yesterday copperfastens that status and does not undermine it. British–Irish relations are vital to our long-term economic well-being and we would do well to reflect this in our tone and demeanour from now until the Council meeting. Does the Taoiseach agree that the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly has been very damaging and that these institutions need to be restored as a matter of urgency, particularly in the light of the ongoing negotiations? Does he accept that there needs to be an outreach to unionism that is deep and meaningful, notwithstanding our differences on the issue? Does he agree that nothing in the formula of words or negotiations undermines the integrity of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom, in accordance with the outcome of the referendum in 1998 and the Good Friday Agreement ?