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Onus on parties to support the implementation of all outstanding elements of Good Friday Agreement- Doherty

17 February, 2010 - by Pearse Doherty TD


“In supporting the motion before the house today I want to pay tribute not just to the Government but to all parties that were involved in the negotiations that led to the Hillsborough Agreement.

“The Hillsborough Agreement is an historic one in that it is an agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP. We can now move forward together to see the powers of policing and justice devolved from Britain to the North of Ireland.

“We went into these negotiations with the intention of getting the DUP to live up to their commitments under the St. Andrew’s Agreement. They cannot choose to cherry pick the bits of this agreement that they like and forget about the others.

“There is now an onus on all parties to show their support for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement including the outstanding issues of the Irish Language, the All Ireland Parliamentary and the All Ireland Civic Forum among others.

“I want also, to take this opportunity to call on the other parties of this house who claim to support a United Ireland to start to support and work for that goal in a meaningful way. The old excuse of not wanting to offend Unionism is gone, for we in Sinn Féin, as unapologetic supporters of Irish Unity, are now working in the institutions with the leaders of Unionism.

“Indeed, in announcing the Hillsborough Agreement, Martin McGuinness declared, in the presence of Peter Robinson, that he is an Irish Republican and wants a United Ireland.

“So I say to the other parties in this house who also claim to support a United Ireland to declare that support and to work hard to achieve that goal.

“A first step would be for this house to support a motion calling on the Government to produce a Green Paper on Irish Unity. No longer can the excuse of not wanting to offend Unionism be used, to oppose such a motion. Of course, the parties that used this excuse before were not so worried about offending Republicanism by not support a motion on Irish Unity despite many of them claiming Irish Unity as one of their key objectives as political parties.” ENDS

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