Thursday, 17 February 1972
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Cooney: asked the Taoiseach if he has considered having talks with members of the Unionist Party or of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Taoiseach: I have under continuing consideration all possible steps which might help in the situation. I have, however, no immediate plans for entering into talks of the kind referred to nor have I received any approach for such talks.
Mr. Cooney: In view of the fact that a solution to the Irish problem cannot take place until talks are held with the parties named in the question and in view of the fact that the longer a solution is delayed the more lives are going to be lost, would the Taoiseach not, as a gesture of reconciliation and as an act of initiative on the part of the Government here, take steps to initiate those talks?
The Taoiseach: I do not think those talks would be fruitful at this stage in advance of a political initiative on the part of the British Government. We are led to believe that something like that is about to come. If I felt generally that that could put forward the situation at this time I would be prepared to consider it, but I do not think it would.
The Taoiseach: I have seen different people from time to time and some of these may well represent the point of view referred to in Deputy Cooney's question. I have no objection to seeing them at any time.
The Taoiseach: I have met individuals. I do not ask them for their membership cards of any organisation as long as I feel they are genuine people seeking a solution to the problem. I do not know what organisations they might have been members of.
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