Cowen must push for establishment of All-Ireland Consultative Forum – Ó Caoláin
Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD called on the Taoiseach Brian Cowen to use every urgency in bringing forward the establishment of the All-Ireland Consultative Forum agreed as part of the Good Friday Agreement and endorsed by the popular vote of the people. Deputy Ó Caoláin said there is great concern that this integral part of the agreement has not yet been progressed in any real and substantive way.
He said, "We all welcome the recent progress in the agreement reached between Sinn Féin and the DUP. One hopes this will bring about the devolution of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast, and that other outstanding matters will be addressed appropriately and soon.
"We all want to see the Executive and the All-Ireland Ministerial Council functioning in full. Would the Taoiseach accept that responsibility for an all-Ireland consultative forum does not lie only with the Executive and the Assembly? Does he accept that this forum is one of a number of key outstanding and long overdue elements of the Good Friday Agreement, which is now over ten years in being? There is great concern that this integral part of the Agreement, as endorsed by the popular vote of the people, has not yet been progressed in any real and substantive way.
"Will the Taoiseach accept too that there has been minimal movement towards the introduction of a charter of rights, and that this is also an issue that requires greater urgency and pro-active address?
"There must be engagement and a realisation of the benefits for all. Will the Taoiseach confirm that every urgency will be employed in bringing forward, and to fruition, the establishment of the civic forum?" ENDS