independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Irish minister in DUP speech first

Simon Coveney, a minister in the Irish Government, gives an address as part of the DUP annual conference in Belfast

An Irish government minister has made history after becoming the first to address delegates at the DUP's annual conference.

Agriculture minister Simon Coveney delivered an address as the two-day event got under way on the outskirts of Belfast.

The Fine Gael TD said he was delighted to take part in the conference's rural affairs breakfast at the La Mon hotel, saying it is further proof of the growing trust among politicians on either side of the border.

"I hope we can develop the kind of friendship and kind of trust politically that's needed between the largest party in Northern Ireland and the largest party in the Republic of Ireland," he said.

"This is another step in that direction."

In April, DUP Stormont junior minister Jonathan Bell became the first member of his party to address Fine Gael's conference.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny broke new ground when he attended a Remembrance Day service in Northern Ireland.

Mr Kenny and Labour party Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore became the first Irish Government ministers to take part in the traditional commemoration events north of the border.

Press Association

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