Minister O'Donnell briefs Asian journalists on the peace process and economic developments
Minister O'Donnell briefs Asian journalists on the peace process
and economic developments
Ms. Liz O'Donnell T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development and Human Rights in the Department of Foreign Affairs, has told a visiting group of journalists from the Asia-Pacific region that after "a generation of conflict in Northern Ireland, there now exists a genuine and unprecedented prospect of a lasting peace founded on a political settlement acceptable to both nationalist and unionist communities."
The Minister was addressing a group journalists from China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand who are visiting Ireland to brief themselves on the peace process and on current economic developments here. She said that this was a time when the people of Ireland "share a great sense of hope about the prospects for an historic settlement arising out of the current political process in Northern Ireland".
Outlining the progress of the talks process, Minister O'Donnell said that "it is the shared view of the Irish and British Governments that the conflict of allegiance and national identity that has divided the people of Ireland for so long can best be resolved on the basis of a comprehensive agreement covering the three sets of relationships" within Northern Ireland, within the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.
The Minister told the journalists that there was considerable scope for the further development of economic connections between Ireland and the expanding economies of the Asia-Pacific region. She said she saw "tremendous potential" for the growth of Irish trade with the countries of the Pacific Rim, as well as for increased inward investment and tourism development.
The Minister outlined Ireland's current economic strengths and highlighted some of the reasons behind them. "Contemporary Ireland", she said, "has been transformed into a dynamic, diversified economy with a strong high technology base. Within a single generation, we have moved from having a closed and protected economy to having one of the most open, trade-dependent economies in the world. Irish exports are now diversified in content and market reach. Having gained a strong position within the European single market, I would like to see the markets of the Pacific Rim as providing a fresh challenge to Irish exporters", the Minister said.
During their visit, the journalists from the Asia-Pacific countries, the first such group to come here, will meet the Taoiseach and Tánaiste and will be given economic briefings by the Irish Trade Board, the Economic and Social Research Institute, the IDA and Bord Fáilte. They will visit the International Financial Services Centre, the Chester Beatty Library and Trinity College. Top