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Adams raises talks in north with Taoiseach

23 January, 2018 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today raised renewed efforts to resolve the crisis in the North with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil today. The Sinn Féin leader urged the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to “hold more meetings with people in the North outside of the political parties to get a deeper sense of what is happening there”.

Gerry Adams also welcomed “the announcement this morning by the group describing itself as ‘Oglaigh na hEireann’ that it has ended its armed actions. I especially want to thank those trade unionists and community leaders who were involved in securing this outcome.”

The Sinn Féin leader added:

“Martin McGuinness’s letter of resignation is very clear about what needs to be done. Grassroots opinion is very clear also.

“So Taoiseach, will you recommit to engage energetically and consistently with the British Prime Minister to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and to help to get the political institutions restored ASAP?” 

Note: Text of Gerry Adams remarks in Dáil (Check against delivery)

“Taoiseach, another round of talks to re-establish the political institutions will start tomorrow in Belfast.

This will be the fifth round of formal talks since the power-sharing arrangements collapsed a year ago.

There have also been numerous informal and private exchanges between Sinn Féin and the other parties, including the Democratic Unionist Party – mostly on Michelle O’Neill’s initiative.

The institutions need to be re-established on the basis of equality and parity of esteem.

Thus far, the Democratic Unionist Party has resisted this imperative.

No doubt elements of its leadership are encouraged by the pact they have with the Tory government in London.

Many people in the North were very pleased with your recent assertion that nationalists in the North 'will never again be left behind by an Irish government'.

Your recent remarks on Clare FM were therefore very disappointing.

This type of negative commentary has long been the hallmark of statements on the North from leaders here in the south.

Whether yourself, your predecessor, the Fianna Fáil leader or others, the difficulties are presented as the fault of two problem parties.

Whatever affect this has in elections here, it certainly will be of no assistance to the talks process in the north.

You are well aware of the issues.

It is about rights.

In essence, all of the rights being denied people at this time are rights which are available to everybody else on these islands.

In your Clare FM interview you say Sinn Féin is “incapable of negotiating and compromising in the North.”

That begs the question for you to spell out what rights we should compromise on.

Perhaps citizens should forget about an Irish Language Act?

Or maybe Marriage Equality?

Or the Bill of Rights?

But these are not the questions I am asking you today.

Instead, I want to actively encourage you to meet with people in the North outside of the political parties to get a deeper sense of what is happening there.

I know you and Minister Coveney have done some meetings and I would encourage you both to do more.

I have recorded my concern at the toxic atmosphere which has shrouded political discourse in recent times.

However, I do want to welcome the announcement this morning by the group describing itself as 'Oglaigh na hEireann' that it has ended its armed actions.

I especially want to thank those trade unionists and community leaders who were involved in securing this outcome.

Meaningful change will only be advanced through exclusively peaceful means.

That is Sinn Féin’s commitment.

Our record is there for all to see.

Martin McGuinness letter of resignation is very clear about what needs to be done.

Grassroots opinion is very clear also.

So Taoiseach, will you recommit to engage energetically and consistently with the British Prime Minister to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and to help to get the political institutions restored ASAP?

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