Irish 'complacent' in NI affairs

Published Wednesday, 05 February 2014
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Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin has called for the Irish government to involve itself more in the affairs of Northern Ireland, saying both the administration and the public had grown complacent.

Irish 'complacent' in NI affairs
Michéal Martin thinks the Republic of Ireland should take more interest in NI. (© Pacemaker)

Speaking in the Dáil during a debate on Northern Ireland matters, Mr Martin said there had been a "growing and increasingly dangerous complacency" about the situation in Northern Ireland.

In a lengthy statement to TDs, the opposition leader said that the subject of Northern Ireland, and its development, had become increasingly marginalised in the Republic, in its media, and in the Dáil.

"On the rare occasions that northern issues are now addressed in the Dáil by the Taoiseach, we hear statements about how everything is in hand and lots of meetings are happening," he said.

"It is not just that sectarian tensions and dissident activities are giving rise to widespread concern - more fundamentally, the entire momentum of peace, reconciliation and development is being lost."

Mr Martin said that the Good Friday Agreement was a great success in how it brought people from very different backgrounds together and helped heal divisions, but he added that "there was nothing inevitable about the success to date of the peace process and there is nothing inevitable about its longer-term course".

Let's not forget the objective of the process is not for politicians to get on and avoid constantly collapsing basic institutions - the goal is to deliver tangible action on behalf of people.

Michéal Martin, Fianna Fáil

He added: "The undeniable reality is that today the majority within Northern Ireland say that they do not have an increased influence in how they are governed and they believe that the Assembly is achieving little.

"You don't need to know much about history to know how dangerous this is - how it provides an atmosphere in which those who promote division find it easier to get listened to."

Mr Martin also said it was wrong of both the Irish and British governments to distance themselves in the Haass talks process and allow the process to be treated as a solely internal matter.

He added: "The great historical opportunity to build a lasting and constructive cooperation between all of the traditions who share this island is still there.

"Enormous progress has been achieved and is still in place. However, no one can realistically deny that a sense of drift is present.

"There has been disengagement and a reduction to formalities which has let serious problems intact and waiting to break out into new crises.

"It's time to end the complacency and return to a position where our government again assumes the role of being an active and interested partner in all elements of the still on-going peace process."

Responding, Louth TD and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: "I want to see this Dáil breaking out of a partitionist mindset.

"An Irish government that truly wants a united Ireland would understand that this means the unity of the people of this island, including those who see themselves as British.

"It would therefore pursue every avenue to promote greater all-Ireland co-operation and seek to build relationships on the basis of equality between all the people on this island.

"This must include genuine efforts to outreach to the unionists on the basis of equality."

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (76 days ago):
I think this would be a step forward for all sections of the community. This would defiantly be a way for orange institutions to include a lot more people to come along and watch the celebration of their culture just as St Patricks day has become a day for all. There are orange lodges in nine counties in the Free State. Ross Kemp never bothered going to film them. Wonder would it have anything to do with the involvement of loyalist paramilitaries in orange marches?
s magowan in belfast wrote (78 days ago):
maybe this gentleman should be told to to keep his nose out of something that dosen't concern him
Michael Monaghan in Belfast wrote (78 days ago):
Time the irish government took a more productive role in promoting agreement on the Haass talks...
Observer in Online wrote (78 days ago):
Mr Martin should be putting pressure on the Taoiseach to reverse all the cutbacks and recruiting freeze on An Garda Siochana so that they can continue the recent success they have had against the dissident republican terrorist groups in the Republic of Ireland. Typical unhelpful comments from Louth TD Adams.
Paul in England wrote (79 days ago):
The best way forward for the 6.5 million people on the island. Is a United one. The sooner the better.
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Twenty years ago there was something said but not really heard.
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