Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader, Dara Calleary TD has said that innovation and imagination is needed to overcome the impasse in Northern Ireland.  Deputy Calleary was a guest speaker at today’s Beyond Brexit, The Future of Ireland event in Belfast.

Deputy Calleary said “In the face of the existential challenges of Brexit, Northern Ireland’s institutions have been deafening in their silence. Beyond the trauma of Brexit, There is a failure to confront the other great challenges of our age. Reducing educational and health inequality, tackling climate change and supporting businesses are all been reduced to secondary thoughts.

“The crisis of leadership in Northern Ireland demands to be solved. In 1998 stakeholders showed an unprecedented breadth of imagination to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. That kind of innovation is now needed to shake off the stupor Northern Ireland is languishing in.

“The   Citizens Assembly model was used successfully in the Republic to address complex, sensitive and divisive political, economic and cultural issues. A similar process here, addressing contentious linguistic, LGBT and cultural issues could yield positive results. A Citizens Assembly does not need to threaten anyone, instead it offers a forum for dialogue and progress.

“We need collectively to work harder at reaching out to the Unionist communities. Building on the work of Mary and Martin McAleese and others, the Government need to ensure that Department of Foreign Affairs funding targets vulnerable communities to help build bridges between the North and South.

“Bureaucratic borders are often as frustrating as hard ones. A special taskforce across all departments to target and eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic differences between North and South should be prioritised.

“Regardless of Brexit, an All-Ireland response is needs to issues such as Climate Change, Healthcare, Housing, Education and Inequality”, concluded Deputy Calleary.