Irish Taoiseach Simon Harris making first official visit to Northern Ireland on Friday

Newly elected Taoiseach Simon Harris leaves the Dail in Dublin on Tuesday
Newly elected Taoiseach Simon Harris leaves the Dail in Dublin -Credit:Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Irish premier is to meet Stormont’s leaders during his first official visit to Northern Ireland on Friday.

Simon Harris, who became Taoiseach on April 9, will meet First Minister Michelle O’Neill and deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly during his trip to Belfast.

He is expected to discuss developments in Northern Ireland since the restoration of its political institutions in February, as well as areas of common interest and potential opportunities for all-island co-operation.

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He will be formally greeted at Parliament Buildings by the Speaker of the Assembly Edwin Poots, before he has bilateral meetings with Alliance leader Naomi Long, UUP leader Doug Beattie and Colum Eastwood leader of the SDLP.

Mr Harris will also hold a working lunch with key business stakeholders in Northern Ireland.

He will later be hosted by The Duncairn Arts Centre where the focus will be on the achievements in reconciliation and community development work of the 174 Trust, through disability, arts, women and pre-school groups. Its projects have been recipients of the Reconciliation Fund and Shared Island Creative Ireland programmes of the Government of Ireland.

The day will conclude with a visit to Queen’s University Belfast where the Taoiseach will meet academics involved in ongoing all-island research, including on cancer care, sustainable energy and resilient food systems and others co-funded by programmes resourced through the Irish Government’s Shared Island Fund.

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