SF delegation presses case for All-Ireland integration
A Sinn Féin delegation is this afternoon meeting senior civil servants from across Irish Government Departments to press the case for increased all-Ireland integration. Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Assembly member Barry McElduff and All-Ireland co-ordinator Seán Oliver are meeting in Iveagh House with the Inter-Departmental North-South Co-Ordinators Group.
Speaking in advance of the meeting, the Cavan-Monaghan TD said: "Regardless of the outcome of forthcoming talks to re-establish the Executive and All-Ireland Ministerial Council, the clear mandate of the Good Friday Agreement is for an island-wide approach to social and economic development. We need to see not only all-Ireland co-operation but all-Ireland integration and we will be pressing the case with senior civil servants today.
"We welcome the confirmation earlier this year from Finance Minister Brian Cowen that that the new National Development Plan 2007-2013 will contain strong all-Ireland elements. Practical progress is needed and we are calling for integration of public services and development of infrastructure on a truly national basis.
"Following on from our engagement in Strasbourg last week we are urging a major transport initiative including road and rail for the North-West corridor from Dublin to Derry and Letterkenny. We are making the case for co-operation in health services, including a cross-border GP out-of-hours service which would be of huge benefit in the border region. And we are arguing for further pooling of resources and inter-operability of services and supports in the area of education."
Note to editor: Deputy Ó Caoláin will be available to speak to the media following this afternoon's meeting from 2pm onwards.