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McGuinness comments following Hillsborough talks

27 January, 2010

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, commenting after discussions at Hillsborough today said;

“The two governments in their statement make it clear that what is required is implementation of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements. We welcome this.

We went into these negotiations against the backdrop of the three years of default by the DUP in relation to their St Andrews Agreement commitments. However belated, this still requires an early date for the transfer of policing and justice powers and a situation where the institutions deliver and operate, into the future, on the basis of partnership and equality.

The reality is that the failure to resolve those problems does not lie with Sinn Féin. We have come at this phase in a problem solving mode, we have invested much in the success of these institutions and so we want them to succeed.

We have displayed extraordinary patience over the past 18 months. We sought to persuade the DUP to be partners on progress. In recent days the two governments have joined that effort.

The decision by the DUP, at the behest of the Orange Order, to make the abolition of the Parades Commission a precondition for the transfer of powers flies in the face of that. It made reaching agreement extremely difficult and many are speculating that this was the intention.

However I have to say that despite some progress being made on policing, we have not concluded a deal here today. I am deeply disappointed and I informed the plenary of that; Gerry Adams and myself in a meeting with the Taoiseach and British Prime Minister did likewise. We now intend to study the governments statement, but one thing is certain, that citizens rights and entitlements cannot and will not be subject to a unionist veto or an Orange Order precondition.” CRÍOCH

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