Ministers Attend Co-operation Ireland Function in London
Dr. Christopher Moran Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness Peter Robinson MLA Co-operation Ireland

(L-R) Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Co-operation Ireland Chairman, Dr Christopher Moran and First Minister, Peter Robinson at the annual Co-operation Ireland event in London

The Chairman of Co-operation Ireland, Christopher Moran, has praised Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Ministers for “going the extra mile for peace” and achieving the “impossible” with the recent ‘Fresh Start’ agreement.

Mr. Moran also praised Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness for being “two best friends” to the peace-building charity and for going “outside their own comfort zones”.

Mr. Robinson and Mr. McGuinness were attending an annual Co-operation Ireland event in London tonight (Thursday, 26th November), which is expected to be one of the First Minister’s last official functions in London before his retirement.

Reflecting on this month’s ‘Fresh Start’ agreement which addressed the recent political impasse at Stormont, Mr. Moran said:

“Despite the critics, Northern Ireland has, as the new agreement suggests, a ‘Fresh Start’.

“Generosity of spirit – so often the missing component of peace-making – has meant that the agreement will be a fresh start for those keen to move Northern Ireland into an era of prosperity and opportunity.

“In particular, securing a date of 2018 to reduce Northern Ireland’s rate of corporation tax will have an immediate impact in transforming the region’s entrepreneurial culture.

“Both the First and the deputy First Ministers are to be commended for their approach to what were difficult negotiations.  I also applaud the Secretary of State, Irish Government and Prime Minister for helping the parties achieve what many considered impossible.”

Thanking the two Ministers for their help with Co-operation Ireland’s work, both at a community level and in normalising relations between the UK and Ireland, Mr. Moran added:

“There have been many firsts in the past few years, from historic handshakes to historic State visits which both the First and deputy First Ministers have worked with Co-operation Ireland and others to secure.

“The two Ministers are like Co-operation Ireland’s two best friends, always there when you need them, always encouraging and always willing to go that extra mile for peace.  They are comfortable enough in their own skins to go outside their own comfort zones, whether that be attending events at Windsor Castle or a GAA dinner.

“In his last official Co-operation Ireland event before he retires, I would like to put our thanks to Mr. Robinson on the record.  I believe Peter’s contribution as First Minister will be assessed as one which copper-fastened the political settlement.”

Founded in 1979, Co-operation Ireland is an all-island peace-building charity working to promote interaction, dialogue and practical collaboration within Northern Ireland and between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Its joint patrons are Her Majesty The Queen and the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

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