04/01/2006

Taoiseach to take part in Northern Ireland talks

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has today announced that he is to hold talks with the country's Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern on the future of the Northern Ireland political process.

The Irish Foreign Minister said there would be "a lot of activity" in relation to the political process in the near future.

"We have to prepare the ground. We are up for this and we just hope the political parties in the north are up for it as well," he said.

He also spoke of the importance of the impending IMC report on paramilitary activity in terms of "proving beyond all doubt that the IRA has gone."

Mr Dermot Ahern said that he was aware that Secretary of State, Peter Hain would be meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair this week and he hoped that they would be working together to make progress by the end of the year.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams released a statement saying that politicians must make a genuine effort to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2006.

Mr Adams said there were major challenges ahead - particularly for the government and unionists.

"Sinn Fein is determined that the opportunities presented by the IRA initiative are not squandered. There still are major challenges ahead particularly for both the British government and the unionist parties.

“The process has been allowed to be stalled for too long and the time for movement has now come.”

However, in response to Mr Adams statement, DUP MP Iris Robinson said there would be no return to the failed structures of the past.

"The structures of the Belfast Agreement did not provide good government for the people of Northern Ireland," she said.

(EF/SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 June 2005
The 2005 Birthday Honours List for Northern Ireland
The full list of recipients of honours in the 2005 Birthday Honours list for Northern Ireland is as follows: Knighthood: Mr Hugh Orde OBE, Chief Constable, Police Service of Northern Ireland - for services to Northern Ireland. CBE: Mr Robert David Stewart Campbell, Belfast - For Political and public service.
23 October 2001
Trimble accepts commencement of IRA decommissioning
Following the IRA statement on decommissioning made on Tuesday and a meeting with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), the Ulster Unionists have accepted that the IRA has commenced decommissioning.
20 February 2007
Northern Ireland goes to Washington
Washington DC is to experience Northern Ireland’s arts and culture during a four month programme to promote arts, business, education, food and tourism.

 Around 250 local people will be in Washington taking part in the Rediscover Northern Ireland programme and the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival.
16 February 2006
Hain announces Northern Ireland Bill
Secretary of State, Peter Hain, has today introduced new legislation to the House of Commons to help pave the way for future devolution of policing and justice in Northern Ireland.
18 February 2002
Blair and Ahern discuss Northern Ireland peace process
The British Prime Minister Tony Blair has held talks with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in London to discuss political progress in Northern Ireland. The lunchtime discussion at Downing Street on Monday February 18 focussed on issues such as demilitarisation, decommissioning and the recent work of the Policing Board.