DUP leader hails North/South relations

Published Thursday, 30 January 2014
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DUP leader Peter Robinson has hailed the good working relationship between the current administrations in Belfast and Dublin, claiming "relations have never been better".

DUP leader hails North/South relations
Mr Robinson said the Haass process had laid foundations for the future. (© Pacemaker)

The Northern Ireland First Minister was speaking at an event in Dublin on Thursday evening.

Mr Robinson referenced the forthcoming seventh anniversary of devolution, telling those present: "Things haven't always been easy and there are still major challenges to overcome, but we have achieved something previously felt impossible."

He added that the recent Haass talks - which failed to end in agreement between the main parties on issues like flags, parades and the past - had "laid the foundations" for the future.

"Even attempting to tackle matters considered too difficult in the past is a sign of the determination of the parties to move forward," the DUP leader said.

But Mr Robinson was full of praise for the ongoing work to attract foreign investment to Northern Ireland, particularly at a time of economic instability - and to bring in big sports events and gigs.

"Thanks to the measure of peace and stability that has been achieved, Northern Ireland - slowly but surely - is being transformed and, for the first time in generations, we are able to attract major international events," he said.

Mr Robinson also pointed to the increased cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

By focusing on outcomes we have found a way to work together in all of our interests.

First Minister Peter Robinson

"In many ways, it is remarkable that what was once the most thorny of issues is now almost entirely uncontroversial," he said.

"This new equilibrium has been good for both administrations and for the island as a whole."

Stating that the present administration in Dublin had been particularly focused on enhancing business relationships, Mr Robinson added: "I hope that this will continue in the years to come.

"And I am not in any way reluctant to say publicly what I have said privately to (Taoiseach and Tánaiste) Enda, Eamon and others - I believe they have made incredible progress in turning around the economy here.

"It would have been difficult to imagine a few years ago that such substantial improvement could have been made in such a timeframe. Both of us have much more to do, but I am convinced we can look forward to much brighter days."

Mr Robinson pointed to recent projects which are to the mutual benefit of Northern Ireland and the Republic, including improved road links between Belfast and Dublin.

Future plans will also see a radiotherapy centre created at Altnagelvin, to serve Londonderry and the wider North West - including Donegal.

"The truth is that only by working together - North and South, East and West, and in the public and private sectors - will we guarantee a better future for all of our people," Mr Robinson added.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
fritzl in switzerland wrote (261 days ago):
s.b. in belfast your comments are spot on. An English m.p once commented that he was amazed fine gael had no interest in a united ireland and seemed almost unionist. you only have to go back to one of the debates among the candidates seeking to become the next irish president. Fine Gaels gay mitchell proposed ireland re-joining the commonwealth in the event of or to bring about a united ireland. Here was a man seeking to become the president but saying the queen could/should be. Was he acting alone or is it Fine Gael party thinking.? I think i know the answer to that taking in to consideration he is a high ranking member within the party.
S.B. in Belfast wrote (266 days ago):
Peter Robinson might be talking for himself and the DUP. The fact is however that Nationalists and Republicans in the North have a totally, non existent relationship with the Southern political and media Establishment. A rabidly right wing, partitionist, elite control politics and the media in the South and they have always pushed a Unionist line in order to protect their own comfortable 26 county positions. It's no wonder then that Robinson is singing their praises. Their goal is the same; two separate states.
Joe in Co Down wrote (266 days ago):
So true working together makea us all stronger. There is nothing to fear from the south.
Eamonn in Belfast wrote (266 days ago):
Peter it is way to little to late, you will never get another Nationalist vote again. You are on a loosing ticket.
no jobs in NI wrote (266 days ago):
What planet are you living on Peter Robinson do you even listen to your electorate? local government jobs are under threat,the health service is in a mess and not to mention the under achievement of young Protestants - what good is a new road system to them when there are no jobs to go to
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