Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-11-12-Speech-3-211-000"

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"Madam President, as the rapporteur for the International Fund for Ireland in the last mandate, and as the leader of my group in the PPE, it gives me great pleasure to present this resolution on the peace process in Northern Ireland to Parliament this evening. I would particularly like to welcome the Commissioner, who is a former colleague, and to congratulate her on her elevation. It gives me great pleasure to be the first to address her. Without doubt, the whole peace process in Northern Ireland can be looked at as a miracle, because people who probably hated one another, and who were willing to go by the gun rather than the ballot, turned away from that. As a result we got the Good Friday Agreement and the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive Committee – a system which has worked very well in general over the last number of years. For that, the European Union deserves great credit, and people like Jim Nicholson who have been involved over all that period here in Parliament can testify to how important this was. Now, however, there is an impasse – and I would call it an impasse rather than an end, because while there are issues which need to be addressed, we hope that this resolution will encourage all sides to come together and to do so in an open spirit. It was particularly great to welcome here over the last couple of weeks the deputy First Minister, Mr McGuinness and, today, the First Minister, Mr Robinson and the Leader of the DUP, Mr Nesbitt, who have all said that Europe is seen as a friend of Northern Ireland. It is in that spirit that we present this resolution, because the people of Northern Ireland want peace. I visited with my colleagues recently the peace projects which will be ongoing – as the Commissioner pointed out – over the next number of years, and on the ground people want these to continue. It is very important now that all political sides come together and resolve the legacy issues and other issues which are holding things back right now."@en1

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