DUP leader hails North/South relations

DUP leader hails North/South relations

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

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.

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