"As we meet here at the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation our proceedings are overshadowed by the resignation of the government and the departure of Mr. Albert Reynolds as Taoiseach. Let me first of all pay tribute to Mr. Reynolds for the central and very constructive role he played in furthering the peace process. Sinn Féin is satisfied that Mr. Reynolds is totally committed towards ending the nationalist nightmare and encouraging the unionist people to see that their future lies in a completely new and agreed Ireland.
"The outgoing government which he led did more than any previous administration to advance the cause of peace in Ireland. It helped to move the peace process into the present peiod of unprecented hope and real opportunity for a lasting settlement.
"We here must ensure at this stage that two things are set firmly set in place. Firstly, the work of this Forum, still in its infancy, must continue. We have set outselves a vital task and we must ensure that it is carried out. For our part Sinn Féin will do everything we can to co-operate with the other parties represented here to ensure that the political crisis in Leinster House and the possibility of a general election does not unduly delay the work of the Forum.
"Secondly, we must ensure that the entire peace process, of which this Forum is a part, continues apace. Nothing can be allowed to slow the historic momentum which has been achieved so far. Far too much has been achieved so far for it to be jeopardised in any way by instability or lack of continuity."