Irish and British Govts need to up their game on NI and International Community must do more for #Syria #AF13

brendan-smithSpeaking at the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis, Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD said:

“We are seeing a worryingly dangerous lack of commitment from both the Irish and British governments to making sure that the institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement are working properly.”

“What have we got to show for the past two years of a hands-off strategy from the Irish and British Governments? The flag protests, the increased dissident activity and growing public discontent at a dysfunctional Executive and Assembly.”

“Hollow rhetoric and empty press statements from the Taoiseach and Tánaiste are no substitute for hard work and direct engagement with all the parties in the North to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement delivers on its potential for all the people of this island.”

“The Irish government’s failure to mark the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in any meaningful way shows both their partisan reluctance to acknowledge any achievement that reflects well on others and contrasts to the actions in wider civil society which used the 15th anniversary to reflect on where the Agreement has worked and where it has failed yet to deliver. The government missed the opportunity presented to it by the 15th anniversary to explore how the Agreement can still deliver real change for people in their daily lives.”

Speaking on the issue of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, Brendan Smith said:

“It is an indictment of us all that the world has allowed this tragedy to unfold, and is still doing so little to halt it. It has been described as “the worst humanitarian crisis since the Cold War”.

“We must keep raising the issue of this on-going humanitarian disaster. I urge the Government to use the remaining months of its EU Presidency to keep asking the international community – the UN and the EU – what they are going to do, and when.”

“Ireland has a proud record in International Affairs of standing up for small nations and supporting peoples who yearn to live in freedom and peace: from Frank Aiken through Brian Lenihan Snr to our leader Michéal Martin.”

“I echo the comments of our former colleague, the GOAL CEO, Barry Andrews who said that we must all keep highlighting what is happening in Syria. Less than 20% of the money promised by governments to the relief effort in Syria has thus far been delivered. We need to embarrass those donor countries who were loud in promises of aid, but who have been slow in turning those words into action.”

“The gung-ho talk from some politicians in the West of arming and equipping the opposition is a disgrace considering how slow they are to alleviate the suffering and human degradation of the innocent victims of Assad’s atrocities.”