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Good Friday Agreement 10th anniversary

10 April, 2008


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA has spoken about the Good Friday Agreement as 'an historic and defining point of change in the history and future development of this island'.

Mr Adams said:

"Is comóradh 10 mbliana Comhaontú an Chéasta an mhí seo. Ba phointe fíor-thábhachtach é seo i stair na hÉireann agus thug seo bealach polaitíochta do mhuintir na hÉireann amach ó aimsir cogaidh agus todhchaí níos fearr.

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Significantly, we are also approaching the first anniversary of the restoration of the power sharing and all-Ireland institutions.

The Good Friday Agreement marks an historic and defining point of change in the history and future development of this island.

The Agreement emerged out of decades of conflict, and decades of intolerance and injustice, the roots of which are to be found in the British government s involvement in our country and partition.

Establishing the Irish peace process and persuading others, particularly the governments, to engage ion dialogue and negotiation was very difficult. The security agenda was dominant.

But eventually after many years of trying Sinn Fein succeeded, along with others, most particularly John Hume, in opening up a process of negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement.

I want to commend all of those who played a part in making the Good Friday Agreement possible, including the representatives of the political parties here in the north of Ireland, the Irish and British governments, and President Clinton and the United States government.

I want to thank others in the International Community who came to play a part in our process and who served on Commissions and other bodies, including senator George Mitchell who chaired the proceedings.

I want to thank the Irish diaspora who played such a leading role, particularly in the USA.

And on my own behalf and on behalf of Sinn Féin I want to thank the African National Congress for all the help, support and encouragement it gave us as we developed our peace strategy.

Nelson Mandela in his time, and President Thabo Mbeki and the government of South Africa also played a crucial role.

And of course, the progress would not have been possible without the significant initiatives taken by Irish republicans, especially the Irish Republican Army. I want to commend all those involved.

Buíochas fosta do mhuintír na hÉireann, na ndaoine dóchasacha mar bhí an chuid is mó daoibh leis an próiseas seo ón chéad lá amach.

Many thanks also to the people of this island. The vast majority of whom believe in justice and equality and who have supported this process from the start.

The Good Friday Agreement is an accommodation which has established a bridge out of conflict.

It is about rights and entitlements.

It is a unique political agreement reflecting the exceptional political environment in which we live.

But it is also about creating a level playing field in which those of us who want a free, independent United Ireland, are able to persuade others that this is the best future for the people of the island.

So the Good Friday Agreement needs to be seen as part of the continuum of change which goes back to the civil rights struggle 40 years ago.

And it must be judged on whether or not it advances a process of positive change.

There are still outstanding issues to be dealt with, for example, the transfer of powers on policing and justice; a Bill of Rights, and more recently an Irish Language Act.

The governments, in particular, the British government, and the DUP must honour their commitments and obligations on these matters.

If they do then I believe all of these difficult issues can be resolved; that we can continue to make progress and to achieve greater change in the time ahead.

D'imir Sinn Féin ról lárnach sna hathraithe urghnácha in Éirinn. Ach tá neart le déanamh go fóill. Caithfidh achan duine leantar den fheachtas. Bígí linn i Sinn Féin chun todhchaí nua agus Éire Aontaithe a chur i bhfeidhm." Críoch

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