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DUP are refusing to face realities - Gerry Adams TD

4 January, 2018 - by Gerry Adams TD


Next Tuesday will mark one year from the day Martin McGuinness resigned from the office of First and Deputy First Minister.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD writing in his first Andersonstown News column of the New Year said: 

“Michelle O’Neill and our negotiating team stand ready to engage positively in any talks. 

"However, if progress with the DUP proves impossible, the onus then falls on to the Irish and British governments to spell out how they intend to jointly ensure that all past agreements are honoured. A first step toward this will be the establishment of the intergovernmental conference.

“The rationale behind the DUP stance is that it is focused on maintaining the Union but there is no longer any absolute protection for the Union from British Governments the way there used to be. British Government involvement in our affairs will end when a majority vote for that. That is why the Irish government’s recent assertions about Irish Unity are welcome."

Gerry Adams also said that the DUP leader Arlene Foster’s call for a return to direct rule “flies in the face of her party’s devolutionist position. But it also reflects a refusal to face realities.

“The big question in any new negotiation is; can the political parties in the North and the two governments resolve outstanding differences?

"That is more of a question for the DUP than for a Sinn Féin. Michelle O’Neill and our negotiating team stand ready to engage positively in any talks. Sinn Féin wants the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement to be a positive point in the history of our island.

"The call by the DUP Leader for a return to British Direct Rule flies in the face of her party’s devolutionist position. But it also reflects a refusal to face realities.

"The fact is the DUP is betraying the people of the North and the clear vote against Brexit. In particular, it is acting against the interest of a section of its own support base, particularly in the Agri-food sector which will take a huge hit if Brexit goes through on English Tory and Westminster DUP terms.

"The DUP is also actively denying people in the North rights available everywhere else on these islands. 

"The rationale behind the DUP stance is that it is focused on maintaining the Union. But there is no longer any absolute protection for the Union from British Governments the way there used to be. British Government involvement in our affairs will end when a majority vote for that.

"That is why the Irish government’s recent assertions about Irish Unity are welcome. But of course the Taoiseach needs to move beyond the rhetoric. So far he and the Fianna Fáil Leader are refusing to establish an Oireachtas Committee to discuss and consult on how an agreed new Ireland can be achieved. 

"So, 2018 will present many challenges. If progress with the DUP proves impossible then the onus falls on to the Irish and British governments to spell out how they intend to jointly ensure that all past agreements are honoured. A first step toward this will be the establishment of the intergovernmental conference.

"In the absence of local agreement the Taoiseach has committed to that. If Arlene Foster wants to make 2018 a better year for everyone, including herself, she needs to focus on the needs of our health service, our schools, our homeless and everyone else.

"Their interests will be better served and protected by local accountable representatives. Their well-being certainly needs to take precedence over narrow out-dated negative interests. A rights based dispensation is the best way to advance this imperative.”

ENDS//

Note:  The full text of Gerry Adams TD’s column is available on his blog spot at www.leargas.blogspot.com or on twitter @GerryAdamsSF

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Gerry Adams TD speaking at Sinn Féin's event “From Civil Rights to the Good Friday Agreement and beyond” to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

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