Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Ahern must come clean over Speaking Rights" - Nicholson

In a statement the UUP MEP Jim Nicholson said, "The justifiable and intense anger within the Unionist community to the proposed plan to grant speaking rights to MPs and MEPs from Northern Ireland has sparked a huge debate in the Republic with the vast majority of TD’s, according to the Sunday Independent survey, against the idea. The Irish Prime Minister must come clean and clarify what is his Government’s position on this issue because conflicting reports have appeared, in recent days, which question who really is in charge in the Republic of Ireland." More here "On the one hand the Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams believes he has a commitment from Bertie Ahern that steps will taken to grant speaking rights and on the other the Taioseach denies this stating that speaking rights will not be granted but rather that the Dail will ‘facilitate committee discussions with MPs and MEPs from Northern Ireland on matters relating to Northern Ireland and the Belfast Agreement. This and recent developments regarding the Colombia three raise serious question over who is really in charge in the Irish Republic. Is Bertie really in the driving seat or are Adams and McGuinness the back seat drivers? Whatever proposal emerges from this sordid side deal my party and my community will remain resolutely opposed to anything that undermines the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and drives a horse and cart through the principle of consent.”