Newry and Armagh Public Meeting attracts large audience
Sliverbridge Resource Centre was the venue for a Public meeting hosted by Sinn Féin to mark the10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and to discuss progress just one year on from the restoration of the political institutions.
The meeting was chaired by Newry and Mourne Councillor Brendan Curran and panellists included Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, Regional Development Minister and Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy, Education Minister Caitríona Ruane MLA, Bairbre de Bruin MEP, Louth TD Arthur Morgan, Policing Board member Martina Anderson MLA and Francie Molloy MLA.
The meeting helped provide Sinn Féin with an opportunity to give an assessment of the progress made and of the effectiveness of the institutional and other changes that have been implemented. Nearly 600 people listened to a keynote address from Gerry Adams where he stated:
"Substantial progress has been made in the last year and especially in the last decade on a wide range of issues, including policing, demilitarization, human rights and equality and more. Crucially the Good Friday Agreement, with its inclusive process and power sharing governmental structures, is the framework within which the current political institutions work.
"There are also outstanding issues still unresolved and some of these are directly affected by the process of leadership change taking place within the DUP; these include the transfer of powers on policing and justice, Irish language rights, and issues of equality and human rights. Despite this Sinn Fein believes that more progress will be made in the time ahead. Sinn Fein expects the DUP and the two governments to honour the commitments they have entered into".
Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy said that he had been impressed by the large crow present and the open, honest and frank discussions that had taken place.
Speaking in Silverbridge the MP said that this direct engagement with local communities was "a crucial element of Sinn Féin's political strategy of ensuring that people have a real sense of ownership of the political process".
He also explained that the series of meetings that Sinn Fein were currently engaged in would allow the party and the public to assess the significant contribution the Agreement had made to bringing about positive change.
He concluded by stating:
"I believe that this round of meetings have been very positive and productive." ENDS