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Statement by Reg Empey in response to Fianna Fáil 'organising' in Northern Ireland, Belfast, (17 September 2007)

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Text: Reg Empey... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Reg Empey, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), in response to Fianna Fáil 'organising' in Northern Ireland, Belfast, (17 September 2007)


"The Ulster Unionist Party has been calling for the normalisation of politics in Northern Ireland. We want a transition to dealing with the normality of life here and the concentration on our social and economic policies. With the return of Stormont the door has opened once again to achieving this progress to normality.

Hardly has this been achieved but Bertie Ahern and Finna Fail throw a grenade into the middle of Northern Ireland politics by announcing their decision to organise here and fight some elections.

The last thing we need is another abstentionist party organising here. Bertie Ahern at a stroke has transformed himself from a potential partner in the process of normalisation, to a rival.

The prospect of Fianna Fail Ministers being in both the NI Executive and the Dublin Government could put unbearable strain on the political process before it has had a chance to settle down. A most unwise and unhelpful decision from Bertie Ahern. It will fuel demands from unionists to seek further links with mainland parties as a counterbalance to the Fianna Fail move.

At a time when all our energies are directed at achieving stability, we are having instability injected by one of the two governments that pushed agreement as the way forward.

It seems clear that the hugs and the handshakes between Ian Paisley and Bertie Ahern have been interpreted as weakness by Irish Nationalism not as a gesture of friendship. Was Ian Paisley made aware of this move by his friend the Irish Prime Minister?"


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