Adams comments from London
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness MP and Michelle Gildernew MP were in London today for a series of political engagements, including meetings with the British Secretary of State, Owen Patterson; Harriet Harman, the interim Leader of the Labour Party and a briefing with MPs for all parties.
Following his meeting with the British Secretary of State Mr Adams said:
“Owen Patterson made a major mistake when he agreed a deal for unionist unity with the Ulster Unionists, the DUP and Orange Order in the run into the recent election. Now that he is in Government he cannot afford any more mistakes like this. He needs to be on a speedy learning curve.
“There are also outstanding issues from the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements which need implemented and we discussed some of these today, including the very important issue of a Bill of Rights. Mr Patterson seems poised to set this to one side.
“The Sinn Fein delegation robustly argued for a Bill of Rights for the north to take account of the specific needs there.
“We also discussed the imminent publication of the Saville Report. It is unacceptable for the British government to receive advance sight of the Saville Report 24 hours before publication and well in advance of families bereaved by the events of that day.
“We also specifically raised our concerns about the infiltration and manipulation of so-called dissident groups by the British security agencies and drew attention to a number of contemporary examples. And we have agreed to meet on this again.
“Our discussions also ranged across the economic situation and the Sinn Féin delegation voiced our view once again that this Tory led government will bring in cuts based on their idealogy. This would be a major mistake.
“The fact is that the Barnett formula, which determines the block grant, does not accurately reflect social need in the north; nor does it take account of decades of under funding of public services or the lack of investment in jobs that is a legacy of direct rule from London.
“The north is also emerging out of decades of conflict.
“None of this is reflected in the coalition government’s plans. That means the battle against the cuts must be all the more vigorous.
“It also means that fiscal powers and economic levers needed transferred to the Assembly and Executive so there is the opportunity for local representatives to shape our economy for the common good..”