Sherlock to lead northern talks

As Minister with responsibility for North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock is to lead Northern talks with the Government and the parties in Northern Ireland as all sides look to overcome obstacles in the peace process.

“It is important that the Irish Government, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, takes a role in the all-party talks to overcome issues at play in the Northern Ireland Executive, including the issues of flags, parades and dealing with the legacy of the past that are out-standing from the Haass process,” said Minister Sherlock. “As the first Minister of State with responsibility for co-oper-ation between North and South, I believe these talks are necessary and, working with my colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I am determined to use whatever influence I can to make them succeed. The Tánaiste has also indicated that she stands ready to play her part in supporting the forthcoming talks. It is clear already in my visits to communities and engagement with a wide array of actors in Northern Ireland that there is a yearning for the political situation to be fully resolved.”

Minister Sherlock high-lighted the commemoration of Thomas Davis as appropriate in the week that the talks were due to get under way. “I think it is appropriate that we commemorate Thomas Davis; he was of a part-icular religious tradition and through his daily life sought to deconstruct religious fervour and develop nation and nationhood,” said Minister Sherlock. “It didn’t matter to him your background class or creed. I think he was egalitarian in that matter and it’s important that we remember him as we enter into further talks in Northern Ireland as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. Davis was of a different tradition and we know there are two different traditions on this island. While we strive for self-determination we are minded that we don’t take it for granted. That’s why these current talks can be linked to him.”