Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Disappointment expressed at decision of British and Irish governments to postpone intensive negotiations until September

19 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking in Dublin today at the first meeting of the party's Ard Chomhairle following the Local Government and European Union election campaigns congratulated the party's election workers and candidates and thanked all those who voted for the party in last week's elections. Mr. McLaughlin said that Sinn Féin's commitment is to deliver on our mandate in local communities, in the European Parliament, in the peace process and in building for Irish unity and independence.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

"Last weekend more than 342,000 people across Ireland vote for Sinn Féin making us the third largest party on the island. This is a tremendous endorsement of our peace strategy, our work in local communities and our analysis of the direction of the European Union. I want to congratulate our election workers and candidates and thank all those who voted for our party.

"This morning the Ard Chomhairle has been reviewing the election results and making preparations for the extensive work that lies ahead on Local Authorities, in the European Parliament, the peace process and in building for Irish unity and independence. There was widespread disappointment expressed at the passing of the government‚s citizenship referendum. The Ard Chomhairle called for full consultation prior to any legislation being introduced and committed itself to continuing to work for a fair, human rights based immigration policy for all of Ireland."

Commenting on last night's announcement that the British and Irish governments are planning to hold talks next week as a prelude to 'intensive negotiations' in September Mr. McLaughlin said:

"There is no reason why the two governments, Sinn Féin and the other parties cannot reach agreement by next Friday on the elements of an agreement needed to end the crisis in the process.

"The decision by the governments to put off intensive negotiations until September means that they have bought into the time-frame set down by the DUP. Once again the governments are allowing unionism to set the pace in the process. This is unacceptable.

"Sinn Féin believes that it is possible in a short period to achieve a comprehensive and holistic package which deals with all of the outstanding matters in a way that is definitive and conclusive.

"There is no reason why the effort to resolve this should be put off for the summer."ENDS

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