25 June 2009 Edition
Sinn Féin Ministers and Oireachtas members meeting
Economic recovery requires all-Ireland approach
Sinn Féin Ministers in the Executive were in Dublin on Wednesday to meet with the party’s Oireachtas members to discuss the all-Ireland economic agenda. The party’s Joint First Minister Martin McGuinness and Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin stated that measures to tackle the recession need to be undertaken bi-laterally by the administrations North and South and that economic recovery will require an all-Ireland approach.
Also on the agenda was progressing northern representation in the Dáil. In attendance were Joint First Minister Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Conor Murphy – Minister of Regional Development and Sinn Féin TDs Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Arthur Morgan, Martin Ferris and Senator Pearse Doherty.
Speaking to the media during a press conference Sinn Féin Joint First Minister Martin McGuinness said:
“Since the Good Friday Agreement trade between North and South has steadily increased. But thousands of people live their lives in one jurisdiction yet shop, study or work in the other. Partition creates impediments to economic development at a substantial cost to the economy.
“Economic planning and development on both sides of the border requires a joined up approach by political leaders North and South. This was an important element of the Good Friday Agreement vision. Ireland is just too small to have two competing economies.
“To tackle the recession the administrations North and South need to undertake further measures bi-laterally. The historic lack of joined up thinking from successive British and Irish governments has resulted in viable businesses floundering on both sides of the border in the face of constant fluctuations in the areas of VAT, corporation tax, excise duty and currency. But there have also been glimmers of hope that show what is possible when we work together as one island united in a commitment to social and economic prosperity.”
Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
“We strongly dispute the recent statement of Minister of State Martin Mansergh that the economic recession makes Irish unity less attractive. The reality is that the full potential of the island in terms of economic development cannot be realised while we have division, duplication and disruption because of the border. Real economic recovery will require an all-Ireland approach.
“Sinn Féin Executive Ministers, our TDs and Senator today discussed a number of areas that must be progressed if we are to properly realise the advantages of the all-island economic agenda. These include strategic all-Ireland public transport and roads development, an all-Ireland Agricultural Body, further co-operation and integration via Universities Ireland in the area of third-level education with a special focus on the emerging knowledge economy, starting the process of tax harmonisation across the 32 Counties and the introduction of the euro into the Six Counties.
“We will continue to raise the need for Six-County representation in the Dáil. While the establishment of the Oireachtas Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee was welcome, with its participation by MPs from the Six Counties, it does not go far enough. We will be calling on all parties in the Oireachtas to work together to achieve the national unity which they all claim to desire.”