Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has rejected claims by the PSNI Chief Constable that weaker immigration checks in the Republic were providing a route for international criminals to enter the UK. 

Yesterday, addressing a Westminster parliamentary committee George Hamilton said that border controls in the Republic did not have the same resources or focus as those operating in the North. 

However, speaking at a reconciliation conference in Belfast today Mr Flanagan said he believed the chief constable’s remarks were not well founded.

Mr Flanagan said relations between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána were now at the best level ever, and said the issues of border controls was one of the challenges facing the Republic when the UK withdraws from the European Union.

Mr Flanagan is at Stormont House for talks with Stormont's First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, and with Northern Ireland's Secretary of State James Brokenshire .

The ongoing failure to address legacy issues in Northern Ireland is high on the agenda.

Northern Ireland Justice Minister Claire Sugden is also taking part in the quarterly review meeting to assess the implementation of the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements.

While progress has been made in a number of areas since the 2014 and 2015 deals, a row continues to stymie the establishment of new mechanisms to deal with Northern Ireland's toxic past.

Proposed mechanisms to address the needs of victims are at an impasse owing to a wrangle linked to the potential non-disclosure of UK state papers on national security grounds.

The package agreed by Stormont leaders and the UK and Irish governments, which includes a new investigations unit, a truth recovery mechanism, an oral history archive and enhanced funding for Troubles-related inquests, will not become reality until the logjam is cleared.

The national security dispute is primarily between the UK government and Sinn Féin.

However, the Democratic Unionists are refusing to sign off on the funding boost for legacy inquests until all the other issues are sorted.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Flanagan will host a reconciliation event in east Belfast.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's annual Reconciliation Networking Forum brings together organisations and individuals working on building better relations on the island of Ireland.

On the review meeting at Stormont House, Mr Flanagan described it as an "important opportunity for the two governments and the Northern Ireland Executive to come together and work on our shared objective to achieve full implementation of the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements, which provide a vital framework for Northern Ireland in the period ahead."