Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 29 May, 2003
Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.
Mr. Howlin Mr. Howlin
64. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of his meeting on 21 May 2003 with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Paul Murphy. [14747/03]
Ms McManus Ms McManus
73. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the plans he has for talks with the political parties in Northern Ireland with a view to making political progress, following the collapse of the most recent initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14751/03]
Ms Lynch Ms Lynch
74. Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when he expects that elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly will be held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14750/03]
Mr. Kenny Mr. Kenny
86. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if a date has been fixed for forthcoming meetings in Northern Ireland with the pro-Agreement parties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9533/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
 Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 64, 73, 74 and 86 together.
The Government, in continuing partnership with the British Government, remains fully committed to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, which is our template for future progress in Northern Ireland. In recent weeks and months real progress has been made. This progress is reflected in the Joint Declaration of the two Governments and associated documents published at the beginning of May. The Joint Declaration contains many elements that we can and will implement, for example in the areas of policing, criminal justice, equality, human rights and some aspects of normalisation. This work will be actively advanced through the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.
It is regrettable that it has not proved possible to establish a basis for the early restoration of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland. All of us have a collective responsibility to make this process work and we will continue to engage with the parties to try to resolve the impasse. This requires a cessation of all paramilitary activity, in accordance with paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration, as well as achieving a stable and sustainable basis for the full operation of the institutions of the Agreement.
When I met with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 20 May at the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, we discussed the need to regain momentum in the political process. We agreed on the need for political parties to press on with dialogue with a view to developing a positive context for the holding of elections. In the Government's view these should take place at the earliest opportunity, and, regardless of any other considerations, no later than the autumn.
I also availed of the conference to raise recent allegations of collusion and intelligence activities involving the security forces in Northern Ireland and expressed our serious concern at media reports in this regard. The conference will meet again in the coming weeks and will continue to reflect the determination of both Governments, as guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, to fully implement it to the greatest extent possible, and to work towards the restoration of the devolved institutions at an early date.
Dáil Éireann 567 Written Answers. Northern Ireland Issues.