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DUP Should Use British/Irish Meeting as opportunity for positive engagement

23 April, 2006

Speaking today as he travelled to Kerry for the start of the British/Irish Parliamentary Body, Sinn Féin TD for Louth Arthur Morgan said that he hoped that the DUP would use the event for positive, practical engagement rather than simply grandstanding for the benefit of the media.

Deputy Morgan said:

"Along with all of the other members of the Parliamentary Body I welcome the decision of the DUP to attend this session in County Kerry. However the DUP need to use this platform to find common ground, to engage with political foes, to seek to build confidence amongst the vast majority of people who want to see the Agreement work and demonstrate that they are up for

inclusive power sharing.

"If the DUP are simply going to travel the length of Ireland to grandstand for the media then an opportunity will have been lost. Time is pressing on and we are only a matter of weeks away from the reconvening of the Assembly on May 15th. The time for grandstanding from the DUP has long since past. They should now be in the business of positive engagement with all of the other parties, including Sinn Féin, if we are to see the fully functioning all-Ireland institutions demanded by the people delivered.

"Sinn Féin despite all of the challenges are up for engaging with the DUP. We are up for sitting in a power sharing government with Ian Paisley's party.

"I am approaching the work of the coming days in a positive frame of mind. I look forward to hearing what the DUP have to say. I remain hopeful that progress can be made in the weeks ahead. But ultimately the DUP have a decision to make. Are they going to sign on the for Good Friday Agreement institutions or are they going to continue to set their face against change?

'It is my hope that we hear from Peter Robinson and his colleagues this week that they are finally ready to join with the rest of us a build a shared future on this island. If we hear the opposite message from the DUP then that places a large responsibility onto the shoulders of the two governments, who then must act upon their pledge to deliver the other elements of the Agreement and increase all-Ireland decision making and action."ENDS

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