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Dealing with Northern Ireland issues is dragging Republic down

Published 21/08/2015

One of the major reasons why we do not have effective government in the Republic is the domination of Northern Ireland on our government's time.

Northern Ireland is a child growing up and has required a great deal of attention.

Every time the Assembly goes down or major events take place in Northern Ireland, a litany of intensive talks usually start that take up large volumes of time and reams of documentation.

Senator George Mitchell during the exit period of the formation of the Good Friday Agreement complained about the impact it was having on his own life.

The same can be said for others including government civil servants, agents and Cabinet ministers, who have been plagued with negotiations and administrative matters to do with Northern Ireland.

You might be forgiven for thinking that successive Irish governments in power have ended up dealing with matters in Northern Ireland obsessively rather than in the south - for which they were elected. It is no wonder that elections in the south are pushing people away from politics, with record low turnouts at count centres.

There are other signs of how Northern Ireland has distracted politicians in the Republic - strong emigration, very poor administration, homelessness, and tsunami of litigation currently going through the courts.

There is hardly a book or memoir written anywhere by an Irish Prime Minister that is not littered with commentary and long discourses about the affairs of Northern Ireland, with their proud and protracted roles in them.

Is it any wonder why elections in the south mean very little or nothing at all to the people there?

Maurice Fitzgerald

Co Cork

Belfast Telegraph

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