Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the occasion of President Higgins’ State visit to Britain visit should focus minds on the need for political leaders to resolve all of the outstanding issues in the Peace Process.
Saying that peace needed to be celebrated on the streets as well as in the palaces and the big houses, Mr Adams said that the real and lasting significance of President Higgins’ visit will only be realized if the peace and political processes are built upon by both governments.
Speaking during Leaders time Gerry Adams said:
“As you know, this momentous event, which has taken 93 years to agree, has only been made possible because of the Peace Process and the Good Friday Agreement.
“We also know that this is part of a journey; and that much more needs to be done on the ground in the North and between both parts of the island, particularly on the issue of rights. There are great possibilities. That needs a focus and a commitment by us all. All identities on this island – Irish and British - must be respected on the basis of equality.
“The participation of Martin McGuinness in the State visit is a sign of a positive commitment by Irish republicans to engagement with our unionist neighbours and to a new relationship with Britain based on equality and mutual respect.
“The Peace Process and the political transformation that has begun on this island remain work in progress.This State visit should be an incentive to build the peace and to continue the journey of transformation.”
Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach if he agreed that the occasion of this week’s State visit should also focus minds on the need for political leaders to resolve all of the outstanding issues in the Peace Process.
“Taoiseach, whatever other disagreements there are in this Dáil, there is widespread agreement across the island, that building the peace is a national priority. The State visit opens up great possibilities for a government committed to this objective.Peace needs to be celebrated on the streets as well as in the palaces and the big houses.
“There are numerous initiatives which would have a very direct and positive effect within communities in the North and along the border corridor, which the Government could sponsor. A successful peace process benefits all the people of this island, not just in the North.”
Saying he was sure President Higgins, his wife Sabina and all the other Irish representatives will “do us proud”, he added that the real and lasting significance of President Higgins’visit, will only be realized if the peace and political processes are built upon by both governments.