Flanagan and Brokenshire hold talks in Dublin

The Foreign Affairs Minister and Northern Ireland Secretary met ahead of next month's Assembly elections

Flanagan and Brokenshire hold talks in Dublin

Charlie Flanagan and James Brokenshire. Image: Irish Foreign Ministry via Twitter

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan met with the UK's Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire today, ahead of next month's Northern Ireland Assembly elections.

The election - to be held on March 2nd - was called last month following the resignation of Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.

The collapse of the Assembly came amid continued controversy over a botched renewable energy scheme, with Sinn Féin having led the calls for Arlene Foster to stand aside as First Minister while an investigation took place.

Speaking after today's meeting at Iveagh House, Charlie Flanagan said: "I underlined that it is of the utmost importance that the conditions are in place for a power sharing Executive to be established as soon as possible following the Assembly election.

“As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, both Governments have a role to play in supporting the effective operation of the devolved institutions, and in upholding both the letter and the spirit of the Agreement as whole, in the interests of all in Northern Ireland," he added.

The two men also discussed issues related to Brexit, with Minister Flanagan saying: "While Prime Minister May’s commitment to work to retain an invisible border on the island is welcome, I emphasised that, if this is to be achieved, significant flexibility will need to be shown by British Government once the EU-UK negotiations begin."

Ahead of today's talks, Mr Brokenshire said maintaining the Common Travel Area and "excellent economic links with Ireland" will be a priority for his Government in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.