» Monday, March 22, 2004

Northern Ireland

The PMOS said that the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach would be in Belfast tomorrow where he would meet with the parties. Both leaders wanted to inject some momentum into the process based on the clear need to end paramilitarism and a commitment to share power if that was achieved. Tomorrow should be seen in the context of playing to the work in progress. It was not a ‘make-or- break’ event which would run late on into Wednesday, but should be seen as reinforcing work in progress.

Asked for further detail about the Prime Minister’s visit to Belfast, the PMOS said that both the Prime Minister and Taoiseach wanted to inject some urgency into the process. The Good Friday Agreement review had been continuing for some weeks. The Prime Minister had met all the parties in Downing Street in recent weeks. He had also met the Taoiseach in Dublin a week-and-a-half ago. Both leaders wanted to meet up with the parties to discuss how we could move forward. That was the purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit to Belfast tomorrow. Asked if the Prime Minister shared the Irish Government’s ‘increasingly trenchant view’ on Sinn Fein, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister’s views relating to paramilitarism were well known and had been articulated many times – most recently in his doorstep in Dublin with the Taoiseach and, prior to that, in answer to a question from David Trimble in the Commons. Asked to predict where we would be tomorrow, the PMOS said that we would have a clearer view at the end of the day on how to move forward than at the beginning of the day.

Asked if any progress had been made about the publication of the Cory Report, the PMOS said the Prime Minister had told the SDLP in Downing Street two weeks ago that the report would be published at the end of March/beginning of April. We had made this public at the time.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. "Asked to predict where we would be tomorrow, the PMOS said that we would have a clearer view at the end of the day"

    Anyway why does the PMOS refer to the Irish Prime Minister as the Taoiseach which is an Irish word he doesn`t refer to the German Chancellor as the Chavcellvor or whatever the German is for his postion. Journalists do it to and it always bugs me.

    Comment by John Murphy — 22 Mar 2004 on 7:33 pm | Link
  2. Lots of Irish institutions are named in Irish only and so we refer to An Taoiseach, Dail Eireann, the Gardai, and even to An Post. I suppose the reason to refer to them as such is because Ireland is an English-speaking country predominantly, but Germany is not, so we do translate Kanzler (but not Bundestag). In France we transliterate President but not gendarme.

    Comment by David Boothroyd — 22 Mar 2004 on 10:41 pm | Link

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