A Government minister has cited cult TV comedy Derry Girls as a challenge to squabbling politicians in the North.
Rural Development Minister Heather Humphreys said it was appropriate to quote character Erin Quinn from the series, which has just concluded.
“No matter how scary it is, we have to move on and we have to grow up because things, well, they might just change for the better,” said Ms Humphreys, who is from Co Monaghan.
Still quoting schoolgirl Quinn, she added: “So we have to be brave, and if our dreams get broken along the way, we have to make new ones from the pieces.”
Speaking at an event in Drumhowan, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, at the weekend, Ms Humphreys said: “I think the parties at Stormont, the Irish Government, everybody here today and everybody who believes in a truly shared island would do well to keep those words in mind.”
The minister’s department has established a North-South rural policy forum with the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland as a vehicle for sharing information and best practice.
She made her remarks after a meeting of that forum, which she said showed “how much we stand to gain by championing rural development and community leadership together in new ways”.
It is a core part of “how we can build a shared future on this island, rooted in the Good Friday Agreement”, she said, adding that rural communities are “the beating heart of this island, North and South.”
Ms Humphreys said it was fitting for the event to take place against a backdrop of the Derry Girls finale, of which Minister Humphreys, as an Ulsterwoman, is evidently a fan.
“For anybody who saw the series finale this week, Lisa McGee [the series creator] brought us all right back to 1998 and the passing of the Good Friday Agreement,” she said.
“It was a time of historic change and of great hope for better days ahead.
“We want to identify and energetically pursue the clear advantages that all-island co-operation and connections offer the people of this island, North and South.
“The Shared Island initiative of the Taoiseach was bringing people together in dialogue from across different communities, sectors and regions to discuss common challenges and opportunities.
“We look at how we can work together on these, now and in the years ahead.”