Peace Dividend to top Sinn Féin agenda at British Irish Parliamentary Body
Speaking before the first session of the British Irish Parliamentary Body, which is meeting in Belfast over the next two days, Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan said that his focus would be on building support for a substantial peace dividend for the north and the border counties to be delivered by the British and Irish governments.
Mr Morgan said:
"Sinn Féin has been in ongoing discussions with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for some time now in relation to the need for a substantial peace dividend for the north and the border counties. Last week we met with British government officials in London and myself and Mitchel McLaughlin met with the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen to discuss how the Irish government will contribute to such a peace dividend. The Minister said he would look positively at such proposals.
"I welcome the comments made by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern over the weekend indicating that the Irish government are now up for such a significant investment. It is important that the British government also step up to the mark and jointly develop the sort of significant package which is required to tackle decades of neglect and under investment, particularly in border areas. A peace dividend will be crucial to plans for economic regeneration. Also required is the removal of barriers to cross border mobility for employers and workers. I will also be discussing the benefits of the all-Ireland economy to all of us living on the island.
"This is very much work in progress and I will use the opportunity presented by today's meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Body to seek broad support for a peace dividend as a crucial element of ongoing efforts to see the Good Friday Agreement political institutions put back in place." ENDS