Monday, April 24, 2006


DUP coming to Kerry!

County Kerry is home to the BodyI see the beautiful county of Kerry is set to get some unusual visitors today - a delegation from the Democratic Unionist Party!

Yes the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body (BIIPB) convenes today in Co Kerry and will be chaired by former NI Secretary of State Paul Murphy.

The BIIPB was established in 1990 as a link between the Irish and British governments.

It originally comprised 25 Irish and 25 British members drawn from the upper and lower houses of both parliaments. In recent years the membership of the body has been extended, to include representatives from the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, the North's Assembly – when convened – and the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

The DUP will be making their first ever attendance and their delegation will be led by deputy leader Peter Robinson and includes fellow MPs Iris Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson.

The DUP will not be taking its seats on the body, but will make a presentation. The UUP on the other hand continues to boycott the body.

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has hailed the move as significant:

"For many years we wanted to see unionist involvement."

"The fact that we’re about to see that should be seen as very significant."

Paul Murphy has also welcomed the move:

"It is very important. It has shown how barriers have broken down in recent years.

I’m delighted that members can listen to their presentation and ask them questions afterwards."

The Welsh politician said he expects goodwill to be shown towards the unionist party at the BIIPB:

"It will be a very significant day in British-Irish relations and in the way in which the body operates."

Mr Murphy however refused to speculate on whether the DUP would agree to join the BIIPB in the near future:

"When they come and talk to us they will make their minds up. It’s a first step."

I likewise welcome the move but isn't it so silly of the unionist politicians to refuse to take seats on the body? I'd be interested in hearing what any unionist readers have to say about that.

I feel it highlights the fragility of political beliefs held by unionists. I mean, why are they so afraid of engaging in dialogue with Irish politicians? Anyone?

With that being said, at least the DUP are making an effort which is more than can be said of the UUP. I'll give Paisley's party credit for that at least.

The unionists really should put aside their reservations about this body though and join it. After all, what have they got to lose?

Update: They have decided to consult the unionist grassroots in future before deciding on power-sharing. I'll post more on this later.


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.