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ON WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON SELECT
REVENUE MEASURES CHAIRMAN. FRIENDS OF IRELAND
Qtnugress nf t4e Nuiteb ~tutes
i;ouse of lhpreseutatiues
February 25, 2010
The Rt. Honorable David Cameron MP House of Commons London, England SWlA oAA Dear Mr. Cameron As Members of the United States Congress with a longstanding interest in the peace process, we are writing you today following the agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers reached at Hillsborough Castle on February 5, 2010. From our perspective, that accord was another significant and transformative milestone in Northern Ireland that should complete the transfer of powers from London to Belfast and place the responsibility of governing exclusively in the hands of locally elected officials on a cross community basis. We particularly welcomed your strong statement of support for the pact and share your hope that the compromise will lead to "the re-establishment of political stability in Northern Ireland." It is our understanding that the next step in the process is on March 9 when the Northern Ireland Assembly is scheduled to vote on a resolution to formally devolve policing and justice powers in April. As a bipartisan group, we are growing increasingly concerned that all parties have not voiced their unequivocal support for the unprecedented agreement reached at Hillsborough. In particular, the Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey has yet to signal his intentions. At this defining moment in the peace process, it is crucial that all the political parties speak with one voice about their shared future. Without a unanimous vote, the elected officials of Northern Ireland would be sending the wrong message to the people they represent, and to the world. In recent days, violence has returned to the streets of Northern Ireland. From the explosion of a 250 pound bomb next to a courthouse in Newry, to the abandoned mortar device left near a police station in Keady, dissidents are trying to destabilize the political institutions and turn the clock back. And today, we learned a young man's brutal murder is being blamed on anti-peace process criminals. We condemn these reprehensible actions in the strongest possible terms. These perpetrators must be brought to justice. And the police must have the complete support of the community they are protecting. But these dissidents will continue to be emboldened if they sense there is no political unanimity on the way forward.
2208 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON, DC 20515 (202) 225-5601 300 STATE STREET SUITE 200 2 CONGRESS STREET POST OFFICE BUILDING MILFORD, MA 01757 (508) 634-8198 SPRINGFIELD, MA 01105 (413) 785-0325 PRINTEDON RECYCLEDPAPER <!j)~,"
The Rt. Honorable David Cameron Page 2. Following the agreement reached at Hillsborough, President Barack Obama praised the policing and justice deal "an important step on the pathway to greater peace and prosperity." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton invited First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to Washington to discuss continued American investment in Northern Ireland~ Many of us look forward to participating in that investment conference hosted by the U.S. Economic Envoy Declan Kelly on March 16. However, the challenge of bringing good jobs to Northern Ireland will be made more difficult if potential investors do not believe there is political stability. We believe the Conservative Party in Britain has played a significant role in the evolution and success of the peace process for many years. Under the leadership of Prime Minister John Major, the Downing Street Declaration was signed which created a template for dialogue and negotiation that led to both the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrews Agreement. Less than twenty years after that historic Joint Declaration was issued by the British and Irish governments in 1993, Northern Ireland is now a model of successful conflict resolution around the globe.
In 2008, we noted that the Conservative Party and the Ulster Unionist Party had
formed an electoral pact to run on ajoint ticket in Northern Ireland. Both parties have a long and distinguished record of taking great risks for lasting peace in the region. Indeed, as a key negotiator, Sir Reg Empey played a critical role with David Trimble in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement. With the March 9 on the horizon, we look forward to his support of the power-sharing institutions and a shared future. As a supporter of the Hillsborough Agreement, we also urge you to encourage Sir Reg and the Ulster Unionists to vote for the resolution next month to transfer policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland on April 12 and secure the future for the people of that society. A unanimous vote would send a powerful message on both sides of the Atlantic that Northern Ireland is truly open for business. Sincerely,
CHAIRMAN OF THE FRIENDS OF IRELAND
The Rt. Honorable David Cameron Page 3.
Tim Murphy MEMBER OF CONGRE •
Ace . t . _ .~ e; ~ MiKe Capuano MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Thomas Rooney MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Tim Holden MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Brian Higgins MEMBER OF CONGRESS
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
William Delahunt MEMBER OF CONGRESS
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The Rt. Honorable David Cameron Page 4.
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Frank Pallone MEMBER OF CONGRESS ~k~~ MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Eliot Engel MEMBER OF CONGRESS