Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (87)

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

216 Mr. O'Connor asked the Taoiseach his views on the political situation in the North; if his attention has been drawn to the strong interest in the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2794/04]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

Since the Assembly elections in November 2003, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Cowen, and I have had a range of contacts and meetings with the British Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Murphy, and the political parties. I met the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Party, Sinn Féin and the Alliance Party in London on 17 December. I met the Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, on Monday, 19 January, when I again urged the publication of Judge Cory's reports into the murders of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright. The Minister for Foreign Affairs met Paul Murphy at the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on Thursday, 22 January. I met a DUP delegation led by Dr. Ian Paisley on Thursday, 29 January. All the contacts have focused on the review which is commencing today. Our approach in the review will be to try to secure a sustainable basis on which the Assembly can be restored and the Executive re-established. The Governments remain determined and committed to consolidating the peace and keeping the political process moving forward.