Northern Ireland

Heaton-Harris to brief US Congress members on Stormont return

The Northern Ireland Secretary will also use the trip to update US politicians on the implementation of the Legacy Act.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris is visiting the US
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris is visiting the US (Oliver McVeigh/PA)

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has travelled to Washington to update US Congress members on the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr Heaton-Harris will also use the trip to update US politicians on the implementation of the Government’s controversial new Legacy Act.

The powersharing institutions were restored on Saturday after a deal between the UK Government and the DUP to address unionist concerns over post-Brexit trading arrangements, which included passing new legislation at Westminster.

The newly formed Executive held its first meeting on Monday.

First Minister Michelle O’Neill and deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly before an Executive meeting on Monday
Stormont Assembly First Minister Michelle O’Neill and deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly before an Executive meeting on Monday (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Heaton-Harris said he would use the trip to “champion Northern Ireland’s economic potential as a great place to trade, invest, visit and study”.



He will also brief members of the State Department and the National Security Council, US businesses and the Ad Hoc Committee to Protect the Good Friday Agreement.

He said: “With the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly restored and working for the people of Northern Ireland, I am pleased to be updating our US stakeholders, whose steadfast support has been invaluable, at this important moment for Northern Ireland.

“This is an exciting time, with local, elected representatives in place at Stormont to help Northern Ireland realise its full potential as a fantastic place to live, work and invest.”

The Northern Ireland Secretary said he would discuss progress over the implementation of the Legacy Act.

Laws enacted by the UK Government strive to provide a limited form of immunity to those accused of Troubles-related offences.

He said: “The UK Government remains absolutely committed to addressing the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

“This visit provides a timely opportunity to discuss these important matters, including progress in the implementation of the Legacy Act by the new Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery, and in finalising the terms of reference for the Omagh Bombing Inquiry which we hope to announce shortly.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our US stakeholders to progress our shared commitment to transform Northern Ireland for the better.”