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DUP Leader Arlene Foster said,

“We want to build a Northern Ireland where everyone feels at home and part of this community. Our relationship with the Republic of Ireland is an integral part of this. We want to be good neighbours. We want a relationship based on respect and mutual benefit.

I was one of the first leaders to congratulate Micheál Martin after it was clear he was going to be Taoiseach. Our relationship dates back many years. I want to build a level of cooperation between both countries which benefits all our people. It should not be based on advancing constitutional politics but on mutual respect.

Whether it is on covid-19, infrastructure, healthcare, tourism or education we share a land border and it makes sense to cooperate for the benefit of people living in border regions. I always point to the Cancer Centre in Londonderry as a wonderful example of cross border cooperation. In my own locality we have been trying to progress the Enniskillen/Sligo Greenway which again would be a fantastic tourism asset and sensible cooperation.

Whilst the Brexit negotiations stressed the east-west and north-south relationship, the UK has left the EU. We share this island and we now need to focus on the future and cementing that shared future for everyone.

We will welcome the new Irish Prime Minister to Stormont and seek to work constructively. Covid-19 has interrupted the cycle of meetings across the British Isles. Whether the British Irish Council or the North-South Ministerial Council, we will discuss all the bodies both east-west and north-south meeting again. Indeed, with Northern Ireland’s centenary next year, it would be fitting for the BIC to meet in Northern Ireland next June.”