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Adams visits Short Strand as part of peaceful summer appeal

20 May, 2004

As part of the Sinn Féin appeal for a Peaceful Summer in interface areas the party President Gerry Adams this afternoon visited the Short Strand. Mr Adams was joined by local Councillor Joe O'Donnell and Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey who are heading up a Sinn Féin effort to ensure a quiet summer in the city.

Speaking from the Short Strand Mr Adams said:

"Two summers ago this small nationalist area endured over two months of daily attacks and intimidation. The people living in this community and indeed surrounding communities suffered immensely. Thankfully last summer this interface was much more peaceful. But this did not happen by accident. It was a direct result of a concerted effort and hard work by many people from both sections of the community.

"We need to ensure that this work happens again this summer. That is why we have asked Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey 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 build on the progress that was made last year.

"Sinn Féin have been working since last summer with interface communities across Belfast in formulating a template to address the issue of interface tensions. That work has now been completed and a template document has been passed to the British government and will be made public in the coming days.

" It is my hope that this grassroots initiative taken with the wider political initiatives co-oriented by Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey will ensure that the work done last summer is built upon and that families living in areas like this enjoy a peaceful summer." ENDS

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