Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Call for NIO to clarify position on Blair speech

12 May, 2004

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has called on the NIO to explain why it has reinterpreted Tony Blair's 'Acts of Completion' speech in its latest political directorate.

Mr McLaughlin said:

" In his October 2002 speech Tony Blair was very clear in demanding acts of completion from republicans, unionists, the British and the Irish government. He clearly envisaged a process involving all of the outstanding aspects of the Agreement. Sinn Féin have sought to explore whether all of the other parties were up for such a process. Republicans have displayed time and again that they were up for such a process.

" However in the latest political directorate published by the NIO they interpret the Blair speech very differently. They claim that the real message of the speech is republicans moving first, followed by the other parties and then possibly the British government honouring its outstanding commitments. This scenario is not a basis for forward movement.

" The NIO need to clarify why they have decided to reinterpret the British Prime Ministers approach. Unfortunately given the nationalist experience of the NIO over the years there will be the suspicion that the dead hand of the securocrats are responsible for this shift in position," ENDS

Editors Note:

Blair Speech, October 2002 'It is time for acts of completion. We will do our best to carry on implementing the Agreement in any event. But, should real change occur, we can implement the rest of the Agreement, including on normalisation, in its entirety and not in stages but together.'

NIO Political Directorate - The approach of the Prime Minister in his Belfast speech of October 2002 - 'there needed to be 'acts of completion' by republicans, rendering the transition to 'exclusively peaceful means real, total and permanent'. In turn, all parties would need to commit to the future stability of the institutions. If this happened, then all of the outstanding elements of the GFA - including normalisation of security arrangements in NI in line with the level of threat - could be implemented'.

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