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No alternative to dialogue and agreement , says McGuinness in major statement on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation

Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA announcing “a complete cessation of military operations”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said there is a real threat to the political institutions in the North from political stagnation and the absence of progress.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD in a keynote statement today has warned that the “political process faces its greatest challenge since the Good Friday Agreement negotiations in 1998.”


Sinn Féin solidarity vigil with the Palestinian people as Israel continues its horrific bombardment of Gaza



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Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has said there is no alternative to dialogue and agreement. 

Delivering a keynote address in Derry this morning on the 20th anniversary of the IRA ceasefire, Mr McGuinness said;

"The absence of dialogue and a commitment to dialogue as the way to overcome disagreements is at the heart of the growing difficulties we are now facing in the peace process across a range of key issues. 

"Rather than making progress on the issues of identity, parading and the past by building on the enormously important work carried out by Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan, the DUP and the UUP have now retreated into a coalition with rejectionist unionism and loyalist paramilitaries. 

"Three times in the last six months, the DUP have threatened the political institutions if they do not get their own way. 

"But the real threat to the political institutions is stagnation and the absence of progress. 

"The real threat is the retreat of political unionism from dialogue, compromise, agreement and reconciliation.

"I have personally tried to understand and reach out to the unionist population not least in my engagements with Queen Elizabeth. But reconciliation is not a one-way street. Unionist leaders need to engage in similar initiatives. 

"So there is an enormous onus on those who recognise the enormous progress we have made, and continue to make, since the IRA cessation in 1994 to make their voices heard. 

“There can be no return to the violence and repression that scarred this society for so long.

“I would urge anti-peace process republicans still committed to armed actions to take that same step in 2014 into politics and away from conflict.

"The supporters of the agreement internationally, in particular in the United States of America, need to reassert their interest and influence.

"The two governments need to be champions for progress not, as they have been over the recent past, facilitators of inertia.

"These are the challenges for all of us as we enter a new term in the Assembly but I am convinced that we can find a resolution to all the difficulties facing the political process. 

"There is no alternative to dialogue and agreement. This is the only path to a shared and better future on this island."

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Sinn Féin President and TD for Louth, Gerry Adams, has described news that all 67 staff at Drogheda's Rexxam factory are to lose their jobs as 'a devastating blow for these individuals and their families. '

Deputy Adams continued,

"This factory, which makes electronic components, has been in Drogheda's Industrial Estate since 1989 and many of those set to lose their jobs are long term members of staff.

"I will be raising the matter with local Minister for Employment Ged Nash to see if he can intervene to stop this factory relocating to China."

Drogheda Sinn Fein Councillor Imelda Munster added,

"A Rexxam staff member called to my home last night when she learned of the factory's relocation plans.

"Obviously this lady was extremely worried by this bad news which will be a major blow for local employment.

"I appeal to the factory owners to reconsider and remain in Drogheda, a town which has served them well for the past 25 years."

ENDS

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Speaking on the eve of Dublin City Council's monthly meeting tomorrow (Monday), Sinn Féin Cllr Mícheál Mac Donncha, a member the Council's Moore Street Advisory Committee said:

"Council managers have tabled a proposal for the City Council which would see most of Moore Street and the 1916 'lanes of history' bulldozed. It is vital that this proposal is rejected.

"The management plan involves a so-called 'swap' of the Council's property at 24/25 Moore Street for 14-17 Moore Street, the National Monument. But in reality the National Monument, last HQ of the republican leaders in 1916, is controlled not by the developer Chartered Land but by NAMA. As Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan admitted at a Council briefing the purse strings are controlled by NAMA.

"This proposal is not in line with the recommendations of the Moore Street Advisory Committee. It should be withdrawn to allow for the preservation of the Moore Street/GPO area and its enhancement as the 1916 Revolutionary Quarter."

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At a selection convention in the Plaza Hotel this afternoon Sinn Féin members in the Dublin South West constituency have selected Councillor Cathal King as their candidate in the up coming by-election.

Councillor King said he is honoured to represent the party in this election and is confident that he can win the seat for Sinn Féin.

He said Sinn Féin is the only anti-austerity party that can win the seat.

Speaking after the convention Councillor King said;

“I am delighted and honoured to have been selected by my fellow party members to represent Sinn Féin in this by-election.

“My party has a proud record of hard work and commitment to the people of this constituency and we were rewarded for that hard work in the recent elections when we returned a record number of Councillors to South Dublin County Council were I am the party group leader.

“But we do not take the electorate for granted.  We know we are in a battle for this seat and we intend to fight tooth and nail to win it.

“The people of Dublin South West know only too well the devastating affects of the austerity policies of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil.  Sinn Féin is the only anti-austerity party that can win this seat.

“We have proven our credentials on South Dublin County Council were we have brought in a progressive and inclusive programme to deliver for all the people in the council area. 

“And we have also shown ourselves to be the main party of opposition in Leinster House, with our own Seán Crowe and the other Sinn Féin Deputies holding the government to account week in and week out in the Dáil.

“I am confident that, with a strong campaign, we can strengthen our Dáil team by electing a second Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West in the upcoming by-election.”

ENDS

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Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin called tonight on the loyal orders to enter into dialogue with residents in Carrickhill to get a solution to contentious parades passing St Patrick's Church.

"We have had further breaches today of Parades Commission rulings on marches going past St Patrick's.

"In particular the decision by a band to play the Famine Song near the chapel was a real provocation.

"Despite this it remains my opinion  that a resolution can be found in talks between the loyal orders and local people on the problems associated with this part of the route.

"I don't think its unreasonable for the loyal orders to accept that supporters should not accompany the march between Stanhope Sreet and Union Street or play music on this small section of the route. 

"Such a move would in my opinion go a long way to deal with residents' concerns about this part of the route which includes St Patrick's Church.

"I am calling on the loyal orders to show some leadership and demonstrate that they want to resolve this issue.

"Dialogue threatens no one and I'm calling on people in the loyal orders to grasp the nettle and work towards a solution on parades on this area."

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Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has praised the attendance at Newry Pride parade pupils of St Paul's High School, Bessbrook. 

Speaking after Year 13 and 14 pupils attended the Newry Pride parade today, the Newry and Armagh MLA said; 

"This is a marvellous piece of progressive thinking and a fine example of embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity by St Paul's.

"It is a fine example of how we can build schools that are welcoming for all, where students can achieve their full academic potential, regardless of their sexual orientation."

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Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said this morning's Black Perceptory march in Belfast city centre breached Parades Commission determinations.

Speaking after a feeder parade on Donegal Street, the North Belfast MLA said; 

"This Black Perceptory feeder parade breached a number of Parades Commission determinations.

"Bands once again played the sectarian 'Famine Song' while approaching St Patrick's Church. This type of behaviour is not helpful and must be condemned.  

"Marchers and bands need to show respect while passing all places of worship. 

"The PSNI and Parades Commission are aware of these breaches and I would call on them to take action to ensure there is no repeat of this morning's scenes when the parade makes its return journey this evening. 

"No music should be played on the return parade and there should only be a single drumbeat.

"Tolerance and respect is the way forward in dealing with this and all parades and the organisers need to demonstrate this and engage with local resident to ensure a resolution to this issue.

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Sinn Fein councillor Gareth Keating has condemned a suspected arson attack on a house in the Mullacreevie Park area of Armagh. 

Councillor Keating said; 

"This attack on a house in Mullacreevie Park must be condemned. 

"It appears that whoever was responsible got the wrong house but regardless of that there can be no justification for this type of incident. 

"The people of the area do not want this type of criminality. 

"I would like to praise the emergency services for their quick response in dealing with this attack. 

"Anyone with information on this incident should bring it to the PSNI."

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Sinn Fein MLA and Junior Minister Jennifer Mc Cann called for tolerance and mutual respect for all when she addressed the Pride in Newry Festival Parade today.

She said,

"All of us have a role in building a society that allows us to embrace our differences, and celebrate diversity.

"Tolerance and mutual respect are key if we are want ensure that everyone feels a sense of belonging and being part of a proud community.

"Many people from still face discrimination and victimisation because of their sexual orientation.

"It is essential that those prejudices are challenged and that there are clear and robust strategies in place to deliver equality for all our people."

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