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Sinn Féin urge quiet summer

19 May, 2004


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has announced that party colleagues Gerry Kelly MLA and Alex Maskey MLA have been asked to head up an engagement by Sinn Féin with other political parties, as well as civic society, the community and voluntary sector, and opinion across all sections of society, in order to ensure a peaceful summer and to build on the progress that was made last year.

The Sinn Féin leader told a press conference in Belfast this morning that Sinn Féin raised this issue at a meeting with the two governments last week. He said: "In our discussions with the two governments Sinn Fein has urged them to participate in and resource a co-ordinated effort to ensure a repeat of last years quiet summer, to encourage the work of the existing cross-community groups, to encourage dialogue and prevent conflict and to pursue a peaceful way of resolving disputes locally."

Full Text of statement:

"Last year we experienced the quietest summer for decades. This did not come about by accident. It was a direct result of a concerted effort and hard work by many people from both sections of the community.

" Consequently many families experienced for the first time in years welcome relief from the burden of fear and violence that has been inflicted upon them annually throughout the summer months.

" No family or community should have to endure the deep trauma and fear occasioned by interface conflict during the marching season or at any other time of the year.

" A quiet summer would also make a significant contribution to building confidence, particularly given the continuing political impasse.

" In this context, of building confidence and trust, Sinn Fein has proposed to the two governments the need to quickly examine and implement a process which will seek to ensure that the positive progress made last year is sustained and built upon.

" Towards this end we have asked two of our MLAs, Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey, to engage with civic society, the community and voluntary sector, and political opinion across all sections of society to encourage active support for this approach.

" I will also use my influence as leader of our party in whatever way possible, including by direct public appeal, to help ensure the whole community experiences a peaceful summer.

" In our discussions with the two governments Sinn Fein has urged them to participate in and resource a co-ordinated effort to ensure a repeat of last years quiet summer, to encourage the work of the existing cross-community groups, to encourage dialogue and prevent conflict and to pursue a peaceful way of resolving disputes locally." ENDS

Editors Note: Mr Adams will visit the Short Strand area tomorrow along with party colleagues Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey and they will be joined in a tour of the area by local Councillor Joe O'Donnell. They will be available to speak to the media at 12 noon outside the Short Strand Community Centre

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