21st May 2003
Taoiseach urged to act speedily to allow Six-County representation in Dáil
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this morning Sinn Fein Dáil Leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin TD welcomed the Taoiseach's statement of last week in which he said he was in favour of allowing representatives of people in the Six Counties to participate in Oireachtas debates. However, Deputy Ó Caoláin urged the Taoiseach to ``to confirm that he will avail of this opportunity and move matters forward with the alacrity that the present political vacuum in the North requires and demands.''
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
``Last week I welcomed the Taoiseach's statement that he is in favour of the rights of representatives of people in the Six Counties to have access to this House to participate in Oireachtas debates concerning the Good Friday Agreement and other related issues. Does the Taoiseach share my concern that people in the Six Counties who aspire to national democracy rather than to the link with Westminister are now left with no parliamentary forum in which to be represented? They suffer from the double disenfranchisement of the suspension of the Assembly and the cancellation of the elections, which were to take place on 29th May.''
Deputy Ó Caoláin also welcomed the Taoiseach's acknowledgement that `there was all-party agreement in the House' in relation to northern representation in the Oireachtas. But he expressed his disappointment with the Taoiseach's view that procedural changes necessary to facilitate MPs contributing to debates in the House could not be put in place before next weeks Sinn Fein Private Members Business time which is to deal with the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process.
The Cavan/Monaghan TD told the Taoiseach that, ``All that is required is the political will and the determination to proceed without further delay. I do not believe that circumstances in the North, owing to the suspension of the Assembly and the cancellation of the elections, are helped by further delay in accommodating the representatives of the disparate opinion in the North.''
Deputy Ó Caoláin called on the Taoiseach ``to confirm that he will avail of this opportunity and move matters forward with the alacrity that the present political vacuum in the North requires and demands.''ENDS
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