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Adams urges all party response to flags issue

12 January, 2013 - by Gerry Adams

Writing in a blog which he posted today on the flags issue the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD calls for an “all party, cross community response to the flags protests and the violence which has accompanied them”.

In his ‘Leargas’ blog on the Belfast Media group website the Sinn Féin leader points out that:

“The vast majority of the protests taking place around the flag issue are illegal. Most are being organised by the BNP, the UVF and criminal elements, some of whom are well known drug pushers. They are seeking to exploit this situation for their own ends.

There is an expectation across the community that those who are organising these protests will be subjected to due process and that the protests will be policed in a fair way.

As political leaders on this island reflect on the events of recent weeks it is important to understand that the Good Friday Agreement must not be taken for granted. It requires constant attention and work. There are important parts of the Agreement still not implemented – for example a Bill of Rights and legacy issues. These matters must be addressed.

After the Massereene attack in 2009 in which two British soldiers were killed Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson brought together all of the political leaders, church and civic  leaders to map out a way forward and to ensure that the tiny minority of voices who want to undermine the progress that has been made do not succeed. That approach is needed again. The Unionist Forum established by the DUP and UUP may have a role to play but it is limited.

Stability and inclusivity and progress are not in the gift of one section of people. Everyone has to be involved. We need an all-party, cross community response to the flag protests and the violence which has accompanied them. It also needs to address all of the other outstanding issues.

This will be a huge challenge.

Republicans do not underestimate the problems involved and in particular the difficulties facing unionism. But there can be no going back.

The tiny minorities who want to cling to the past must be rejected. Sectarianism must be tackled and ended.

The promise of the Good Friday Agreement for a new society in which all citizens are respected, and where fairness and justice and equality are the guiding principles, has to be advanced.”

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