Dáil Éireann - Volume 535 - 09 May, 2001
Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues.
Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin
65. Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised with the British authorities the position of persons exiled from Northern Ireland under threat of death or violence from paramilitary organisation; if an estimate is available to his Department of the number of people in this position; if he has raised their situation with those political parties in Northern Ireland believed to have connections with paramilitary organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12929/01]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I welcome this opportunity to once again state where the Government stands on all acts of violence and intimidation. We condemn them utterly and unequivocally. No-one from any community in Northern Ireland has a mandate to engage in murder, violence or intimidation.
With regard to those who have been forced to leave their homes, the Government condemns all attacks, whether on Catholics or Protestants, in the strongest possible terms. They are despicable acts designed at the very least to frighten and intimidate people. The Good Friday Agreement, endorsed by the people of this island, North and South, recognised the right to freely choose one's place of residence. It is imperative that this right be protected and vindicated throughout Northern Ireland.
The Government wishes to see an immediate end to all acts of violence or intimidation, and calls on the perpetrators to end them forthwith. The Government also encourages any party with influence on the perpetrators to use their best endeavours to end the cowardly practice known as exiling.
The British authorities have confirmed that no figures are maintained on the numbers of people actually forced to leave Northern Ireland. Statistics available relate to 'paramilitary attacks' in general, and show that in 2000, there were 152 such loyalist and 102 republicans incidents reported.
Dáil Éireann 535 Written Answers Northern Ireland Issues.