Statement by Ms. Liz O'Donnell, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Liz O'Donnell, TD, and Dr. Mo Mowlam, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, met today with Senator George Mitchell at Castle Buildings, Stormont. The Minister expressed the appreciation of the Government to Senator Mitchell for accepting the role of facilitator of the Review of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, and, of course, their full support for his critical work.
The Minister and the Secretary of State reviewed the state of play with the Senator on a range of issues, following his round of meetings with the parties this week. The Senator also briefed them on his plans for a further series of meetings next week.
Speaking afterwards, the Minister said:
"It is essential that we re-commit ourselves as politicians to sustain and advance the project of the Good Friday Agreement as endorsed by the people. We must counter the negativity and pessimism which seems to be pervading much of the public commentary at the moment."
Referring to the role of the Governments, the Minister added:
"The Governments have an obligation to sustain confidence in the project. We must build on the progress that has been made and help create public confidence that we are still on course, notwithstanding the very real difficulties and disappointments we faced."
The Minister said that an absence of mutual trust and confidence between the parties was a key factor in the continued impasse. She believed that the skills and qualities which Senator Mitchell brought as facilitator were essential to the building of that necessary trust and confidence. She was convinced that, with goodwill all round, a breakthrough could be achieved and the will of the people deliveredTop