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Tánaiste Calls for Peace Process ‘Version 2.0’

Over 200 Gather in Dublin Castle for DFA Reconciliation Networking Forum

In his keynote address this morning to over 200 participants at the 6th annual Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Networking Forum, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D., called for even greater levels of commitment and effort in support of peace on the island of Ireland. 

The Tánaiste said: “While last month’s historic and highly successful State Visit to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth II illustrated to all of us on this island, as well as in Britain and throughout the world just how far we have travelled together, none of us involved in the quest for lasting peace and improved relations between our people can afford to become complacent about anything that has been achieved to date.”

Under the heading ‘Building A New Society’, the Tánaiste called for the development of a ‘Version 2.0’ peace process “… in which the key focus is on the kind of society we want to build on this island and on the way we relate to our neighbours.

This reinforced, renewed and reinvigorated peace process must grapple with difficult financial questions and with issues such as ongoing segregation in housing and education. And it must offer a sense of continuing progress towards stability and space in which expressions of identity and aspiration no longer provokes fear or other negative responses amongst others.

To those who are persisting with violence as a means to advance their objectives, the Tánaiste noted that violence will not solve any of our problems: “It will not promote inward foreign investment, it will not encourage the domestic consumer demand which is needed to reboot our economies and, for those who claim it as their cause, it cannot and will never deliver a united Ireland. 

It is through consent, and only by consent, freely and willingly expressed, that a united Ireland can ever come about.  And for the vast and overwhelming majority, it is the only way in which we would ever wish that a united Ireland might occur.

On the theme of this year’s Networking Forum, that is, the forthcoming decade of significant historical anniversaries which will occur over the period 2012-22, the Tánaiste confirmed that the Government recognises its roles and responsibilities in this area: “We are committed to playing our part towards ensuring that, to the greatest extent possible, peace should be strengthened rather diminished by the advent of these significant anniversaries over the coming decade.

Details will shortly be announced of a Government-led framework programme for commemorations involving the Oireachtas and in close consultation with elected and other representatives from Northern Ireland and wider expert and community opinions.” 

Note to the editor:

The Tánaiste will be available to the media after his address.