Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Order of Business
Enda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
The historic meeting yesterday between the DUP leader, the Reverend Ian Paisley, and the leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, is a most welcome and important event. I wish to pay tribute to the Taoiseach for his undoubted patience during the past ten years in weathering many a storm in this matter and to all of those political personnel of all parties who made a contribution in whatever way to bringing us to this point. It is only right and proper to state this. In my time, all Governments in their own way played their part in putting this complex jigsaw together and I hope in early May this will result in a beginning which will herald a new dawn for the peoples and communities of Northern Ireland.
As a meeting is to take place between the Deputy First Minister to be appointed and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will the Irish Government make a further allocation for cross-Border activities such as road development, tourism, education or health? Is the Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, who already put up €400 million, likely to increase this amount on the probability the Assembly will get up and running?