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Green Party leader John Gormley said securing peace is 'a job not yet finished' in Northern Ireland

Green Party leader John Gormley said securing peace is 'a job not yet finished' in Northern Ireland

Green Party leader John Gormley said securing peace is 'a job not yet finished' in Northern Ireland

Securing peace in Ireland is a "job that is not yet finished", a major meeting of the Green Party has been told.

Leader of the party in the Republic John Gormley was addressing the Green Party's annual general meeting in Northern Ireland.

He highlighted the role of the party in protecting the environment and its efforts to boost the economy by encouraging the growth of environmentally friendly industries.

But Mr Gormley warned his Northern Ireland colleagues at the meeting in Downpatrick, Co Down, that securing peace on the island also remained an important challenge for politicians.

"The spectre of dissidents and their murderous intent to disrupt and destabilise life in Northern Ireland reminds us that securing peace on our island is a job that is not yet finished," he said. "It is in stark contrast to their evil hatred that I am moved to pay tribute to one of the individuals whose courageous efforts to build bridges and advance human rights was recognised last night."

In a reference to John Hume being chosen as Ireland's Greatest in an RTE poll on major Irish figures, he added: "John Hume is indeed one of Ireland's greatest individuals, and I would like to applaud the work he has done for all communities on our island."

Mr Gormley said the Green Party was growing internationally and had made a breakthrough in the UK and Australian parliaments.

"Their successes, despite the huge challenges of disproportionate election systems which discriminate against smaller parties, are an inspiration for us all," he said. "I hope that they will inspire candidates - both those that we already know will run, and those who are currently perhaps only considering the idea - to put themselves forward. To run proud, energetic and visible campaigns in the local council and Assembly elections next May.

"It has never been more urgent that we have strong green voices in council chambers, in Stormont and in Dail and Seanad Eireann."

He highlighted what he said were the successes of his own party in government in the Republic, despite the negative headlines to have hit the economic policies overseen by the Fianna Fail-led administration. "Over 16,000 jobs have been created in the green economy since the Green Party entered government," said Mr Gormley.

PA