'Ulster conflict is over' - Ahern

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The Independent Online

Days of conflict and division in Northern Ireland were over, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told the historic first meeting of the north-south Northern Ireland ministerial council in Armagh.

Days of conflict and division in Northern Ireland were over, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told the historic first meeting of the north-south Northern Ireland ministerial council in Armagh.

After leading his entire cabinet across the Ulster border, Mr Ahern said the meeting was unprecedented. Ministers from both sides of the border had come togetherin one room to work for the benefit of people in both countries.

The Irish premier said that the pace of recent developments had been breathtaking.The majority of people in Ireland wanted reconciliation and understanding.

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble said the inaugural meeting of the council was important not just to nationalists in the Province but to unionists.

"We have so much in common, so much that can bring us together, for our collective good," he said.

Mr Trimble looked forward to the day when all the institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement would flourish and the common interests between the Irish Republic and the UK "progressed in a positive and constructive manner".

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