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Tánaiste hosts international conference on Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Peace Process, Press Releases, Northern Ireland, 2012

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, is hosting a high-level conference in Dublin today on the Northern Ireland peace process. The conference, being held in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, takes place in the context of Ireland’s Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 

The one-day conference aims to present Ireland’s recent experience of building and sustaining peace as a case study of possible relevance to those seeking solutions to conflicts elsewhere in the OSCE. This is the first time that the Government has hosted an international conference of this kind.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, the Tánaiste said “as Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, I am committed to doing what I can to advance efforts to resolve ongoing conflicts in the OSCE area. By presenting the experience of achieving a peaceful political settlement in Northern Ireland, I hope we can illustrate that shared futures can be forged from seemingly intractable situations.”

The Tánaiste will be joined at the conference by First Minister, Peter Robinson; Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness; and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sent a video message of support for the conference, which is also being addressed by Senator George Mitchell, Minister of State Brian Hayes and the Secretary General of the OSCE, Lamberto Zannier.

The conference is being moderated by the former President of Finland and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Martti Ahtisaari.

The Secretary General of the OSCE welcomed the conference and said ‘this is the kind of event which enables people to approach conflicts from a different perspective.’

Drawing on the experience of achieving peace in Northern Ireland is one of the themes of Ireland’s Chairmanship of the OSCE this year and it is expected that the conference will contribute to enhancing Ireland’s reputation in the field of conflict resolution and mediation.

Note for Editors
The conference brings together a range of international speakers, many of whom have direct experience of the Northern Ireland peace process. There will be sessions on the building and sustaining peace, police and justice issues, accommodating different traditions and the international dimension to achieving peace. The conference’s final session will include an address by Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the negotiations leading to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The opening session was streamed live on the OSCE website: http://www.osce.org/event/buildingpeace2012.

Images will be available throughout the day:  www.fennell-photography.ie    
Password: dfapool2012