31/10/2013

Dr Haass Meets Taoiseach

Dr Richard Haass has met with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin today as part of his chairing of a panel to examine the way issues surrounding flags, emblems, parades and the past can be dealt with in Northern Ireland.

A cross-party delegation of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement met Dr Richard Haass this afternoon.

Dr Haass is a former US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland who has been selected to chair a panel established by the First Minister and deputy First Minister to attempt to reach solutions to problems within Northern Ireland society by a December deadline.

Today, Dr Haass also met with Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore and civil society representatives.

Led by Committee Chairman Joe McHugh TD, the delegation included Deputies Seán Crowe, Jack Wall and Seán Conlon and Senators Mary White and Jim D’Arcy.

Deputy McHugh said: "Our cross-party Committee warmly welcomed the opportunity to meet with Dr Richard Haass this afternoon. In briefing Dr Haass and his team on our work, we highlighted our regular visits to communities north of the border. These visits have been aimed at providing solidarity and a listening ear for those community leaders at the vanguard of promoting reconciliation, tolerance and mutual respect between these and other communities across the island. As a Committee, we are all too aware of how the trauma of the Troubles has lingered, particularly in working class communities.

"While the Good Friday Agreement is 15 years old, the peace process is still very much in its infancy. Dr Haass’ ambitious work in helping resolve some of the most contentious issues will undoubtedly support the journey towards genuine and lasting peace in Northern Ireland. With regard to the legacy challenges, the Committee is acutely aware that a ‘one hat fits all’ solution will not work in addressing the very complex sensitivities of the past. With that in mind, the Committee stands ready to assist Dr Haass and his team in ensuring that a diverse range of voices who can contribute to the next phase of the process are heard."

(IT/CD)

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