Ritchie To Meet Taoisceach And Tanaiste In US On St Patrick's Day Visit

SDLP leader and South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and Social Development Minister Alex Attwood will meet new Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, British Secretary of State Owen Patterson, US economic envoy Declan Kelly, in addition to an anticipated call with President Obama during their three day St Patrick’s day trip to the United States. Speaking before flying to New York, Ms Ritchie said, “I am looking forward to congratulating the Taoiseach and Tanaiste in person on their recent success and impressing upon them the need for stable government in the south. “Both men have long been friends of the North and indeed the SDLP. They both buy into the SDLP ethos that North/South Makes Sense and I will stress that in the current economic climate, enhanced co-operation is all the more necessary. “My message to the new Irish government will be that the time for hand holding of the DUP and Sinn Fein is over and instead it is time to roll up our sleeves to improve the economic well being of our island. “On that same note I will once again remind the Secretary of State of the imbalance and disadvantage facing the North due to the different levels of corporation tax. “While there is a real need to let Irish America know that Northern Ireland is open for business, something the President should see for himself should he visit,” added Ms Ritchie.]]>