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Gildernew - DUP challenged to wake up to the potential of All Ireland Development

27 September, 2004


Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has challenged the DUP to wake up to the potential of All Ireland development. Ms Gildernew, speaking at the Sinn Fein All Ireland elected representatives forum, at which she outlined a comprehensive development agenda for the Good Friday Agreement architecture tonight said:

"Whatever the DUP believe, the reality is that we have an All Ireland framework that is here to stay. It is in the Good Friday Agreement and it is given form through the All Ireland Implementation Bodies and the North South Ministerial Council.

"The DUP are blind to the potential of the All Ireland Agenda. This political short sightedness does not put the people living in Ireland first; it puts the blinkered political agenda of the DUP first. The DUP will not dilute or undermine the basic All Ireland principles of the Agreement.

"The All Ireland Implementation Bodies benefit people across Ireland and Sinn Féin want to see work programmes in the agreed areas of co-operation consolidated and expanded.

"In areas such as education and health can we open the doors of opportunity and the sharing of skill and expertise. We have also seen projects such as the Autism Centre being set up in the border region and the cancer research partnership between the north and south of Ireland and the USA that pool resources and expertise.

"In animal health and agriculture evidence is mounting that an All Ireland policy approach is vital to the long term viability of farming across the Ireland. On environmental issues it is clear that pollution and meeting the demands of waste management, including issues such as the building of incinerators, require a stronger All Ireland approach and Sinn Féin have called for the establishment of an All Ireland Environmental Protection Agency.

"Engagement in the All Ireland agenda and building on the important progress achieved to date to deliver for all the people of Ireland remains a challenge for all the political leaders on this island. The expansion of the scope and remit of existing All Ireland Implementation Bodies and areas of cooperation along with the identification of new areas of harmonisation and action and creation of new implementation bodies are a vital step in unlocking the potential of the Agreement.

"It is illogical that a small island nation of slightly over 5 million people should have two political structures, two economies, two transport systems, two Education, Agriculture, Health, tourism etc systems. This duplication requires two bureaucracies that if challenged could I believe generate significant efficiencies and new money for expenditure on front line services, and investment in infrastructure." ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin's proposals on the Expansion of All Ireland Institutions & Areas of Work include:

  • Establishment of the institutional arrangements envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement - The All Ireland Parliamentary Forum and All Ireland Consultative Civic Forum.
  • An All-Ireland Human Rights Charter to underpin All Ireland governance, asserting comprehensive social, economic, political, civic and cultural rights.
  • Expansion of the scope and remit of existing All Ireland Implementation Bodies: The Language Body, incorporating Foras na Gaeilge (promotion of Irish) and the Ulster Scots Agency; Food Safety Promotion Board; IntertradeIreland; Foyle & Carlingford, Irish Lights Commission; Special EU Programmes Board (SEUPB) and Waterways Ireland.
  • Expansion of the Areas of Cooperation and action across the island including Health (including a new Health Information and Research Institute and new Implementation body dealing with Mental Health), Agriculture (particularly on Animal Health, dealing with the EU and with a new Rural Development Implementation body), Transport, Education, Tourism (strengthening Tourism Ireland) and Environment (with an All Ireland Environmental Protection Agency).
  • Identification of new areas of co-operation including:

Community Development;

Arts and Heritage;

Economic Co-operation;

Investment.

  • Further Implementation bodies created including;

Energy (to support the emerging All Ireland energy market);

Mental Health;

Rural Development;

Environmental Protection Agency.

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