Minster Martin urges full and effective implementation of the Good Friday Agreement

Minster Martin urges full and effective implementation of the Good Friday Agreement

Addressing Seanad Éireann on 3 November, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D. stressed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The Minister urged the parties to ensure the devolution of policing and justice powers as soon as possible and to make progress on a Bill of Rights.

The Minister said:

“The genius of the Good Friday Agreement, supplemented by the St. Andrews Agreement, is that it addresses all of the essential relationships and elements required, not only to bring the conflict to an end, but also to build sustainable, permanent peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and on these islands. It provides us with a forward looking, future oriented agenda and the necessary framework to achieve it. 

The consolidation of our peace requires that all of the elements be respected and implemented.  The story of the last ten years has been, to coin a phrase “much done, more to do”.  If we are honest, we must acknowledge that we have wasted too much time and lost too much momentum over the last decade, in debates about pre-conditions and sequencing.  What we all need to do is work together to realise the full implementation of the Agreement across the board.  The balanced progressive implementation of all aspects of the Agreement is the best way to complete the journey from conflict to a shared future of permanent peace and reconciliation.”

On policing, the Minister said:

“Many of the preparations for the transfer of policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont are well advanced….The financial package provides a robust basis to move forward.  I would urge all of the parties in Northern Ireland to work together to ensure that the transfer of these powers takes place as soon as possible. The progress that has been made in building cross community support for policing and justice must be consolidated and built on now, and completing the devolution of policing and justice is the best way to do this.”

On the ongoing issue of contentious parades, the Minister said:

“Over the last decade, the contention around parading has been reduced, with much of the progress due to the work of the Parades Commission, together with local engagement and effective leadership at community level.  Unfortunately, a number of parades retain the potential to destabilise the situation each summer. 

Parades need to be addressed in a mutually respectful way, acknowledging the importance of the interlocking issues of rights and responsibilities on all sides. Solutions cannot be imposed or dictated and should not be demanded as a prerequisite for progress in other areas of the Agreement. Nor can they can they be presented as a win for one community over the other. “

Ends+++

Press Office

03 November 2009

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