Statement by the Tánaiste on the situation in Northern Ireland03 July 2014
Following the withdrawal of the DUP and the UUP from the political talks earlier today, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D. made the following statement:
“I was disappointed to learn of today’s developments in the party leaders’ talks in Belfast and the consequent postponement of the North South Ministerial Council plenary. I would hope that this is only a temporary setback and that all the parties will return to the talks as early as possible.
I am aware that earlier today the Parades Commission issued a determination in relation to the return parade in Ardoyne on the 12th of July. The Irish Government believes that contentious parades are best resolved through meaningful and sustained dialogue at local level within a statutory framework. Without such dialogue and local agreement it must fall to the Parades Commission, which is the lawful authority in these matters, to make a determination on disputed parades.
Successive Irish Governments have fully supported the Parades Commission in its difficult work and have consistently called for its legally binding determinations to be respected and upheld. I call on all civic community and political leaders to do likewise in the current situation and I fully support the Police Service of Northern Ireland as they look to protect the community once again this summer.
Reaction to the Parades Commission decision highlights the urgent need for political leaders in the party talks to agree a comprehensive framework for parading policy in Northern Ireland. All of the legacy issues being discussed in the political talks are important and sensitive and it is in the best interests of all that the Northern Ireland Executive parties can reach agreement on them. I have spoken this afternoon with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers MP and we are agreed that it is important that these matters are progressed as soon as possible.
I am disappointed also that, as a consequence of the DUP’s and UUP’s withdrawal from the political talks in Belfast, tomorrow’s North South Ministerial Council plenary meeting in Dublin Castle has been postponed. The North South Ministerial Council is dealing with important issues, such as job creation and economic development, which would be of benefit to people across this island. I would urge all parties in Northern Ireland to continue to engage constructively through all of the institutions.”
3 July 2014