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Kelly - Concern Over Irish Government Role

23 October, 2003

Speaking this afternoon in Belfast Sinn Féin representative for North Belfast Gerry Kelly said that there 'is growing sense of unease among republicans and nationalists at the Irish governments attitude to efforts to rebuild the political process'.

Mr Kelly said:

" There is a growing sense of unease among republicans and nationalists at the Irish government's attitude to efforts to rebuild the political process. I have heard widespread commentary on this in recent days and I have to say those who are expressing disappointment have a point.

" Last Tuesday's events came after months of hard work. Apart from protracted and immensely valuable dialogue between the Sinn Féin leadership and the UUP leadership, the Irish government is aware of the efforts made by us, particularly over the summer, when there were huge efforts, largely successful, to bring calm to interface areas. This wasn't done without people stretching themselves because there was a lot of provocation with continuing sectarian attacks. Yet the broad focus remained on the IRA, as it does at the minute, while activities of other armed groups are largely ignored. For example, last night in North Belfast there were a number of shooting attacks involving the UDA.

" What the IRA did on Tuesday should not be underestimated, neither should Gerry Adams words be cast aside. As someone who works at the coal face of conflict resolution I know at first hand how difficult all of this is for republicans. Everybody knows, especially today of all days, how much progress has been made but there is still a lot to be done and those who are making the progress need to be supported. There is a lot of disappointment that the IICD's work has not been fully and enthusiastically endorsed by either of the two governments.

" The widespread view, and I share this, is that unless David Trimble has control of every jot and tittle, then government schemes, rules and regulations will be set to one side. Although I disagree with it, it is understandable why a British government seeks to placate unionist demands and to build unionist confidence when no one else is doing it, but who defends the nationalist position? If the government doesn't defend the Agreement and the rights of everyone under that Agreement it's little wonder that there is growing anxiety over the perception of how the Irish government is behaving." ENDS

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