Wednesday, 12 April 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
21. Mrs. Owen asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meeting with the Leader of the British Liberal Democrat Party, Mr. Charles Kennedy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9597/00]
24. Mr. Quinn asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on his meeting on 31 March 2000 with the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mr. David Trimble; and the matters discussed and the conclusions reached. [10381/00]
25. Mr. Quinn asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on his meeting on 31 March 2000 with the President of Sinn Féin, Mr. Gerry Adams; and the matters discussed and the conclusions reached. [10382/00]
27. Mr. Quinn asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales, Mr. Paul Murphy, and the Welsh First Secretary, Mr. Rhodri Morgan. [10468/00]
I met Mr. Charles Kennedy MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Mr. Lembit Opik MP in Government Buildings on Tuesday 28 March. We had a general discussion about the current political situation in Northern Ireland. I expressed my appreciation to them for the keen interest which they have shown in the process and I thanked them for their ongoing support for our efforts.
On Friday, 31 March, I met Mr. Paul Murphy, Secretary of State for Wales and Mr. Rhodri Morgan, First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales. Our discussion centred on the potential for further developing co-operation between Ireland and Wales. We also discussed Northern Ireland related issues.
I met separately with Mr. Gerry Adams and with Mr. David Trimble on Friday 31 March. I also met with the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition on 5 April and with the Progressive Unionist Party on 6 April. The meetings were part of an intensification of engagement with the parties in order to overcome the current difficulties.
I emphasise that while clearly we are in a difficult situation, we continue to make considerable progress in the implementation of the Agreement. We have seen substantial reforms in the  equality and human rights area. In Northern Ireland, a human rights commission has been established and is now holding consultations on the possible contents of a bill of rights. These are huge advances. We look forward to the implementation of the proposed reforms of the police service and the criminal justice system. In this jurisdiction, the Government have enacted equality legislation. Legislation to establish a human rights commission is before this House.
The two Governments are working intensively with the parties to resolve the difficult issues which we face. We all recognise the critical need to move forward and achieve the full implementation of the Agreement.
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