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McKay addresses Irish Northern Aid AGM in Boston

19 April, 2008

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the Irish American community remains key to securing a United Ireland. Mr McKay was speaking to a number of audiences in Massachusetts to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Addressing the Irish Northern Aid AGM in the Marriot Courtyard, Boston Mr McKay said:

"The Irish Diaspora, especially in the United States, played a leading role in the early stages of the Peace Process and was key to getting travel restrictions on Sinn Féin members, such as Gerry Adams, lifted in the 1990s.

"As a result of the progress made over the past 10-15 years there is now a new dynamic within Irish politics, one with an all-Ireland dimension, and where Unionist politicians have accepted republicans as being equal through the Northern institutions. Powersharing is to be introduced in the local Councils, many of which have been synonymous with discrimination for decades, and Sinn Féin is now the single biggest party in the 9 Counties of Ulster.

"The devolution of Policing and Justice remains a key issue for republicans and will be a milestone in our work in getting the British Government to fully withdraw from Ireland. If we are to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour here effectively we need locally accountable politicians to be in charge.

"There will be resistance within parts of the PSNI to change. That is to be expected. However we shouldn't run away from that, we need to meet it head on. When Alex Maskey first entered Belfast City Council in the 1980s he faced such resistance as did Sinn Féin Ministers when they first took the reins of power from senior civil servants. They did not run away from that resistance, they faced it down and brought about radical and positive change - the same must apply to the PSNI.

"We now need to organise, build support for unity, expand the all-Ireland institutions and force the Irish Government to begin practical preparations for Irish reunification.

"At the Ard Fheis Gerry Adams announced the establishment of a major Task Force on Irish Unity to drive forward the Road Map to Irish Unity. It is envisaged that Irish NORAID and other supportive groups in the US will have a major role to play in this Task Force.

"Irish Northern Aid is already playing the role of building pressure and putting focus on a United Ireland. We need to build on that again, in Ireland and throughout the Irish Diaspora, and create the momentum for further change." ENDS

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