Dáil Éireann - Volume 459 - 07 December, 1995

Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Peace Process.

21. Miss Harney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if any of his representatives have met with the National Security Advisor to President Clinton to discuss his efforts in relation to the deadlock in the peace process. [15379/95]

25. Mr. Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the meetings he had with President Clinton and members of his delegation during the President's recent visit to Ireland. [18312/95]

40. Mr. M. McDowell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of discussions held between the Government and President Clinton. [18340/95]

43. Mr. L. Fitzgerald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on his recent discussions with a senior White House official with regard to the recent deadlock in the peace process and the visit to Ireland by President Clinton. [14972/95]

[955] 53. Miss Harney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the importance of the role being played by the National Security Advisor to President Clinton in the efforts to overcome the obstacles to the commencement of all-party talks on Northern Ireland. [15378/95]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): I propose to take Questions Nos. 21, 25, 40, 43 and 53 together.

In the course of my visit to the US in the last week of September, I and my officials had the opportunity of meeting President Clinton and both his National Security Advisor, Tony Lake, and Deputy National Security Advisor, Nancy Soderberg. Ms Soderberg was in Dublin in early October, when we had a further meeting. Mr. Lake and Ms Soderberg both accompanied President Clinton on his official visit to Ireland last Friday and I again had the opportunity to meet with both of them.

The main focus of my discussion with the President throughout his visit was the recent Anglo-Irish Communiqué and possible developments in the twin track process in the immediate future. I thanked the President for his constructive engagement and for enabling the appointment of Senator George Mitchell as chair of the Body on Decommissioning. I stressed the importance of maintaining momentum towards all-party talks, and also the value of the economic dimension of US involvement.

These are part of the ongoing efforts I and my officials are and have been making to ensure that the President and his advisers are kept up to date on the situation in Northern Ireland. The National Security Advisor has played an important role in the efforts of President Clinton and his administration to be a resource and a support for both Governments in their search for political progress. The Irish Embassy in Washington, in particular Ambassador Dermot Gallagher, have kept in very [956] regular contact with the National Security Advisor and his staff over the last number of months.

President Clinton's highly successful visit and his powerful endorsements of the twin-track initiative have provided a new impetus to the peace process. The groundswell demand for peace from both communities, which was brought into sharp focus during the visit, sent, I believe, an important message to all of the parties concerned that the public wishes them to co-operate with the twin-track process and to secure political progress.

We are deeply appreciative of the support, goodwill, commitment and constructive approach shown by the US Administration and at every stage in the peace process. We have been conscious from the outset that the road to peace will warrant generosity from all sides. The Presidential visit has served to emphasise in the strongest terms the concern and goodwill which the US administration brings to the search for resolution of the conflict.