The Taoiseach Micheál Martin welcomed the DUP leader, Edwin Poots to Government Buildings this evening.
The two leaders had an open exchange of views across a number of issues including: political developments, COVID-19, North-South cooperation, and the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
The Taoiseach highlighted the critical importance of the stability and good functioning of the NI Executive and all the Institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, in these challenging times.
Recognising and understanding the genuine concerns in unionist and loyalist communities around the Protocol, the Taoiseach said the focus needs to be on getting issues resolved and on reducing friction where we can. He made the point that an obvious way to make such an impact would be to reach agreement between the EU and UK on a temporary (SPS) veterinary agreement – which would do away with 80% of checks at NI ports.
The Taoiseach highlighted the need to use the window that is now available in the EU-UK engagement to agree a roadmap on all of the outstanding issues.
The two leaders also discussed the importance of practical North-South cooperation continuing, including through the framework of the NSMC.
The two leaders agreed to remain in touch over the coming period.