Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking today in Gulladuff in south Derry and at a party conference dismissed Owen Patterson’s recent remarks on a border poll saying that the British Secretary of State “should not presume to arrogantly dictate to people here how we will conduct our affairs. Those days are over.”
The Sinn Féin leader added: “A border poll is inevitable. Mr Patterson knows this. It is only a matter of timing.”
Mr. Adams said:
Secretary of State Owen Patterson has dismissed the possibility of a
border poll. He has also blocked an enquiry into the killing of Human
Rights lawyer Pat Finucane despite this being part of an
inter-governmental agreement at Weston Park. He is also blocking a Bill
of Rights. And he has been less than helpful on other matters like the
Irish language. And his imprisonment of Marion Price is entirely stupid
Mr. Patterson would not be one the most adroit or skillful British
Secretaries of State to have been imposed on us. His remarks on the
border poll have to be seen in this context.
Patterson is also a supporter of the Union. That is the position of his
government at this time. Sinn Féin is not naive about this. The Tory
party had to be pulled kicking and squealing into the peace process.But
now under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement the Tory/lib Dem
government has specific obligations. Despite the foot dragging that has
characterised its attitude to this agreement and other agreements so
far, Sinn Féin has no intention of acquiescing to British Tory game
Patterson is but one of a long line of political overlords that Irish
republicans have had to deal with, with great patience in the past.
there are elements of the Good Friday Agreement that Owen Patterson is
unhappy about but he should not presume to arrogantly dictate to people
here how we will conduct our affairs. Those days are over.
There will be a united Ireland.
definition that will come when the people of our island have formed a
cordial union of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter. When a border poll
is held Owen Patterson will have no vote on that issue. That is as it
should be, entirely a matter for the people of Ireland.
The political landscape in the North has been transformed in recent years and there is growing support for a united Ireland. A border poll is inevitable. Mr Patterson knows this. It is only a matter of timing.
united Ireland that Sinn Féin seeks is inclusive. All elements of
society on the island of Ireland must be comfortable and secure in the
system of governance that is agreed. It is essential that everyone has
the fullest expression of their identity without intruding on the rights
and entitlements of others. Diversity, equality and tolerance is the key to this.
Sinn Féin wants a united Ireland. Both governments are obliged to legislate for this. Like
everyone else who is working for this very legitimate and logical
objective Sinn Féin must demonstrate to unionists that a peaceful and
prosperous future can best be achieved in a new union of the people of
this island. Unionists must be persuaded that this is in their best
unionists remain isolated on the margins of the British political
system where they make up 2 per cent of the population. In a united
Ireland unionists would make up 20% of the population and be able to
exercise real authority, power and influence.
dialogue and engagement with the wider unionist constituency will
challenge republicans. We need to engage in a full and open dialogue,
including listening to unionist views, fears and apprehensions
is important that every opportunity is taken to increase understanding
and mutual respect. Republicans need to reach out in a real effort to
heal differences and create trust with unionists.
reconciliation also means dealing with the legacy of conflict. That
will challenge everyone — republicans, unionists and the Governments in
London and Dublin. But it is essential as the process of change
currently under way moves from conflict resolution to an entirely new
we continue building towards a united Ireland, Sinn Féin must also
offer solutions to the problems faced by citizens in the here and now.
want a New Republic rooted in citizens rights and people centred. That
also means the right to a decent quality of life, a job and social