Talks impasse will only be solved by working together – Gerry Adams TD
Speaking tonight at the Armagh City Hotel, where he delivered the Peter Corrigan Lecture, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams addressed the ongoing political situation in the North and said his party’s only reason for being in the talks “is to make them work and to get agreement for the reinstatement of the institutions, as set out clearly and publicly.”
Teachta Adams continued;
“Currently Sinn Féin is engaging with the DUP to try and restore the political institutions. As Martin McGuinness explained at the beginning of the year, those institutions can only be sustainable if they have equality, respect and integrity at their core."
Mr Adams added that the challenges at the centre of the impasse will only be solved by Sinn Féin and the DUP working together.
“That will present many challenges for us It also presents problems for the DUP leadership.
“Neither we nor they will resolve these problems except by working together. What we need to do collectively is to accept that a rights based society is in everyone’s interest.
“Moving to that position given that their leaders used to boast that they had a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant state, is very difficult for political unionism.
“But on the other hand it is self-evident that this is no longer a Protestant state. And the notion of a Protestant Parliament should never have been acceptable.
“No thoughtful unionist really believes that this would ever be acceptable in these modern times.
“So what do they do?
“They have to recognise that they can only be in political office on the basis of a modern political dispensation bedded in equality and fairness.
“In other words, they have to treat the rest of us as equals and we have to treat them as equals.
“Is the DUP leadership up for this? We will know soon enough.”
The Sinn Féin leader called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May to play a full and positive role.
“The Taoiseach should not think that the rivalry in the southern state between his party and Sinn Féin is more important than the process of change in this part of the island. It is not. He must rise above this.
"It is crucial that he makes the North a priority, not just because of Brexit, although that is critical, but because of the obligations and responsibilities of his office.
“Can the Taoiseach make a historic contribution to the process of change that would be delivered with the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement? Yes.
"Could he contribute more meaningfully to the efforts to have the political institutions restored? Again the answer is yes.
“For their part this British government has no investment in the process, and no affinity with it. It is beset with its own difficulties and is only in power with DUP support.
“James Brokenshire has been less than helpful. Brexit will be a disaster for all the people of the island of Ireland.
“That includes unionist business people and farmers who must be appalled by the DUP leadership’s attitude and their disrespect for the vote of the people here.”