Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said today that the British government’s failure to support the Haass proposals and its decision to unilaterally breach its Weston Park commitments on the issue of On the Runs has damaged public confidence and undermined the political structures of the GFA.
And in a speech to be delivered at a constituency meeting tonight he has rejected suggestions that there can be no movement on the Haass proposals until after the May elections.
Gerry Adams said:
“Political unionism has either rejected the Haass proposals or prevaricated. The negative approach of the British government has facilitated this. The British have broken their commitments and this is having the affect of emboldening intransigent unionism.
“In the short term people from working-class communities, mostly young people are paying the price for the stupidity of the flags protests and the violence which accompanied those protests. It is they who are receiving prison sentences not the leaders who encouraged them or those who failed to actively discourage such negative, sectarian and illegal behavior.
“It is said that there can be no change in this situation until after the May local government and European elections. I do not accept this. I believe that an agreement on the Haass proposals in advance of the elections would send out a powerful and positive message of hope. That will be Sinn Féin’s objective in the week ahead.
“However, to achieve this will require the British government taking up a clear position in support of the Haass proposals. The Irish government has already agreed that Haass represents the best way forward and the US administration has endorsed this in recent weeks.
“The political process faces its greatest challenges in recent years. Citizens do not want the process slipping back. This requires genuine power sharing and partnership. It also requires the focus of the two governments but especially the British government and a change in direction by the unionist leadership.
“UUP leader Mike Nesbitt’s posturing with the NO men on the extremes of unionism is short sighted and without any merit whatsoever. Middle unionism must feel badly let down by the clear effort on the part of political unionism to roll back on the progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement was achieved 16 years ago.
“None of the difficulties the political process faces are insurmountable. With political will it is possible to resolve all of the outstanding and toxic issues.” CRÍOCH/END