Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has expressed frustration and dismay with the latest failure to achieve progress in Northern Ireland’s talks. Deputy Martin was speaking after confirmation that the latest round of talks in Belfast have ended without any agreement being reached.
Deputy Martin commented, “The latest failure to make progress in the North will be greeted with frustration rather than any great surprise. As I have repeatedly said over the last number of years, the combination of Governmental disengagement, Northern Ireland Executive dysfunction and Northern political party cynicism is a mix that is undermining public confidence in the process on a daily basis.
“The inevitable blame game and recriminations have already started, but what the principle players in this latest failure do not appear to appreciate is that the public in the North and the public throughout the country are losing faith not only in the performance of the current structures but in the structures themselves.
“This is a betrayal of the work of very many people over very many years. Peace was hard won, and further progress requires hard work. This peace process was always supposed to be about more than the absence of violence, but we have come to the point where I believe too many of those involved take the progress that has been achieved for granted.
“At the same time, we have a political establishment in Northern Ireland, comprising DUP and Sinn Féin, each of whom is content to allow stasis and stagnation for their own, different reasons.
“In the meantime, the confidence of ordinary working families and communities in the potential of the peace process suffers. In many quarters, confidence has already turned to cynicism. This is a dangerous and depressing development.
“In the wake of this latest setback, I repeat the call I have been making since 2011 on the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister: Northern Ireland needs real and regular attention. Despite the regular protestations and PR set pieces, this investment of time and energy has not been made. This needs to change and change quickly.”