Dáil minister attends DUP conference

Simon Coveney talks to  Danish Agriculture Minister Mette Gjerskov at a meeting.

Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney has made history by becoming the first ROI government minister to address a DUP conference.

Friday, 23 November 2012
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He travelled to Belfast to attend the party's Rural Affairs breakfast on Friday morning.

Mr Coveney's attendance came after DUP Junior Minister Jonathan Bell addressed the Fine Gael party conference in the south earlier this year.

The Fine Gael politician said that his attendance was "a good thing" and that he was "delighted" to be taking part.

"I think the fact that it is happening in a reasonably quiet manner is an indication of the normalisation that is happening now on this island in terms of politics north and south."

UTV's Political Correspondent Tracey Magee described the development as "both symbolic and practical."

"When Ireland takes over the presidency of the EU next year, Mr Coveney will play a central role in the European Agricultural Policy - a position which will prove incredibly important for farmers on both sides of the border."