Government says it does not support 'North Korea peace mission'

Government says it does not support 'North Korea peace mission'

Update 5.10pm: The Government says it does not support any visit to North Korea by a parliamentary delegation.

Earlier today Minister of State John Halligan said he wants to meet with the leader of the secretive state - Kim Jong-un - in a bid to calm nuclear tensions.

The Waterford TD has written to the North Korean embassy in London requesting a visit - but has yet to hear back.

In a statement the Department of Foreign Affairs has said Minister Coveney has spoken with Minister Halligan and officials will provide him with a full briefing on North Korea next week.

Update 4pm: 'North Korea peace mission' proves divisive 

Revelations that three ’independent’ government ministers wish to lead a peace mission to North Korea have proved divisive.

On radio and social media many have lauded the attempts as a valid and worthwhile attempt to kick start dialogue in an increasingly dangerous stand off.

Others have responded to the news with derision and described the move as self serving.

This afternoon Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, James Lawless has said that Minister Halligan’s pilgrimage to his former Workers’ Party paradise, North Korea is an embarrassing act of self-importance.

“Minister Halligan may have shed his Workers’ Party label for that of Independent, but it’s abundantly clear that despite his public transformation, his heart still pines for the 1980s fundraising trips members of his former party enjoyed to the failed communist dictatorship.

“The Independent Alliance Ministers have a habit of going off on tangents and ignoring their roles and duties as Ministers.

“Minister Halligan should be using his office and platform to advocate for research and development funding for higher education institutions.

“How is he happy with a situation where just one Irish institution ranked in the Top 200 in the world this year, when Scotland with broadly the same population had five in the Top 200?

“His colleague, Minister Shane Ross is also clearly undergoing a public transformation in his own right. It wasn’t that long ago when he was the most high profile cheerleader of the capitalist right in this country. Yet, he is now joining in on the pilgrimage to Halligan’s communist paradise.

“Shane Ross should stay put in Ireland, and do his job. Only this week, Ireland’s Rugby World Cup bid suffered a major setback, and we have had the first in a series of Irish Rail strikes that will severely hamper Irish commuters.

“The Independent Alliance has long attempted to portray itself as both a political party and as a group of independents. Now it seems its Ministers are now attempting to pretend they aren’t Government ministers, even though they clearly are, and must follow normal protocols.

“My advice to Ministers Halligan, Ross and McGrath is: do the job the Irish people have entrusted you to do, and leave international diplomacy to the likes of the UN and the EU,” concluded Lawless.

Earlier: Government Minister wants to lead a peace mission to North Korea.

John Halligan has written to the North Korean Embassy in London seeking to visit the state.

Independent Alliance ministers want to meet with Kim Jong-un in January or February, in a bid to calm nuclear tensions.

Government says it does not support 'North Korea peace mission'

Mr Halligan has said it is not good enough that the only dialogue towards Korea from the west has been Donald Trump threatening to blow them up.

Minister Halligan told RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sean O’Rourke about his plans to go to North Korea with Minister Shane Ross and Finian McGrath.

"This isn’t new, we’ve had relations with North Korea in the past through Ceoltas. The greatest threat to peace at present in the world is on the Korean peninsula," he said.

He said that their trip, if successful, will be of no cost to the State and that they will pay their own way.

"Both have agreed to go if we can arrange it. We’ve already contacted the North Korean embassy in London through friends of mine and we’re waiting for a reply," he added.

"What is there to lose by attempting to talk peace with North Korea?"

More on this topic

South Korean activists launch leaflets into North amid tensionsSouth Korean activists launch leaflets into North amid tensions

North Korea plans to float 12m propaganda leaflets into rival SouthNorth Korea plans to float 12m propaganda leaflets into rival South

North Korea confirms destruction of inter-Korean liaison officeNorth Korea confirms destruction of inter-Korean liaison office

South Korea calls urgent meeting after threats from Kim’s sisterSouth Korea calls urgent meeting after threats from Kim’s sister

More in this Section

Rare beaked whale trapped in Wicklow Harbour not expected to surviveRare beaked whale trapped in Wicklow Harbour not expected to survive

Five arrested after 'violent disorder' incidents in Co WestmeathFive arrested after 'violent disorder' incidents in Co Westmeath

UUP call for 'independent inquiry' to investigate coronavirus guideline breaches at Bobby Storey funeralUUP call for 'independent inquiry' to investigate coronavirus guideline breaches at Bobby Storey funeral

Taoiseach 'disappointed' to only learn of Barry Cowen drink-driving ban yesterdayTaoiseach 'disappointed' to only learn of Barry Cowen drink-driving ban yesterday


Lifestyle

All eyes are on America for Independence Day - so what happens when the country's borders reopen again? Tom Breathnach gets the lowdownAltered States: What will tourism in the US look like after lockdown?

From days by the seaside to adrenaline-filled days riding rollercoasters, Leinster offers staycationers major bang for their buck.Staycations 2020: Leinster, where Eastern promises are delivered in full

Des O'Sullivan previews the diverse items that will spark interest among collectorsAntiques: From a sword to crystal chandeliers and a dictionary

Kya deLongchamps strikes up the band for some lesser copied American mid-century talentIt's July 4 so let's strike up the band for American designs

More From The Irish Examiner