Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.

Ruairí Quinn


45 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the outcome of the Drumcree stand-off; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17495/98]

The stand-off at Drumcree regrettably continues despite the efforts of a number of parties to resolve the dispute. The death of RUC Constable Frank O'Reilly last month underlines in a most tragic way the need to act with restraint and within the law at all times. Confrontation and the perpetuation of conflict over this parade is contrary to the real interests of all the people of Northern Ireland.

Officials from my Department continue to monitor the situation and are in contact with parties involved in order to encourage dialogue and a way forward. Mutual respect and mutual accommodation remain the only way of resolving this conflict. The continuing protest heightens tensions locally and retards the prospect for eventual agreement. As I have stated from the outset, in the absence of local agreement, the Government will continue to urge that the rule of law must be respected by all sides and that it must be upheld rigorously.