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De Brún - attempts to undermine peace prospects threaten progress of the last ten years

1 October, 2003


Sinn Féin West Belfast representative, Bairbre de Brún, former Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, has warned elements within the British establishment and unionism against sabotaging the attempts to secure progress at this time.

Speaking from the British Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, the Sinn Féin EU candidate said:

"There is a great deal of speculation about the way forward at the moment, particularly from certain quarters. But there is no quick fix. We need to deal with the real difficulties. The focus on republicans and the expectation of something 'big' is not helpful.

"We all know what has to happen to get the process back on track - there needs to be Assembly elections. We need to deal with the transfer of powers on policing and justice, demilitarisation, equality and human rights and the sustainability of the political institutions. There is a collective responsibility on us all to move each of these issues forward.

"We need an election to restore public confidence and to kick-start the process. We need to have elections without precondition - it is a matter of political principle.

"There are also a number of key issues that must be addressed such as the Human Rights Commission - which needs fixed, the powers and resources of the Equality Commission, lack of progress on the Irish language, demilitarisation, the unionist failure, thus far, to commit to the transfer of powers.

"And of course the issue of arms needs to be dealt with. There is a mechanism for dealing with decommissioning agreed under the Good Friday Agreement - the IICD. This was agreed to enable the entire process to move forward.

"The unilateral setting of deadlines, setting the bar too high, and focusing on only one element is the wrong way to go about this. Sinn Féin is involved in serious negotiations to get the process back on track. I would warn elements within the British establishment and within unionism, who are clearly intent on sabotaging these attempts to secure progress, that they are putting all the progress of the last ten years at risk." ENDS

Contact Dominic Doherty on 0707 4267235 for further details

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