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British are undermining the Good Friday Agreement - Adams

14 May, 2013 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking this evening during the party’s PMB on the Good Friday Agreement warned that the British government is “seriously undermining the work of the Executive and of the political institutions”.

Teachta Adams cautioned that the “Executive’s ability to demonstrate that peace can deliver real economic change is being damaged by the British government’s significant cuts” to social welfare, the block grant and the investment package announced at St. Andrew’s seven years ago.

The Sinn Féin leader described the Good Friday Agreement as “a defining moment in recent Irish history” which for the first time since partition “brought peace, stability and hope, and the opportunity for a better future for the people of this island”.

He said: “Once the political institutions were stabilised and the hard issues of policing and weapons dealt with the government here took its eye off the issue. The British Tory/Lib Dem government has also not honoured commitments as it should have.

“Consequently, there are a number of outstanding issues arising from the Good Friday Agreement, including a Bill of Rights for the north; an all-island Charter of Rights; the establishment of the North-South Consultative Forum; and the introduction of an Acht na Gaeilge (Irish language Act).

“The British Government has also failed to act on its Weston Park commitment to hold an independent inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane. At the same time the securocrats continue to abuse human rights, most clearly in the continued detention of Marian Price and Martin Corey.

"Both governments have also failed to address the need for a victim centred truth and reconciliation process.

“But the greatest threat to the Agreement at this time comes from the British government.

“The decisions taken by Mr Cameron and his colleagues are seriously undermining the Good Friday Agreement and the political institutions.”

Gerry Adams pointed out that “all of the parties agreed to a significant peace dividend and investment of £18 billion at St Andrews. One of the first actions of the current British government was to renege on this commitment.

“The next action of the British government was to cut the block grant by £4 billion.

“The British Government has also refused to devolve powers on corporation tax.

"Now the Tory/Lib Dem government, in pursuit of austerity, is seeking to impose £1 billion of welfare cuts that will take millions out of the local economy and hurt disadvantaged and vulnerable families.

“This is unacceptable and Martin McGuinness recently told the British Prime Minister this very directly.

“The British government is seriously undermining the work of the Executive and of the political institutions.

“The Executive has achieved much, including £8 billion of investment and the creation of thousands of jobs through inward investment. Today Allstate announced that it will create 650 jobs in the north. That’s good work by the Executive.

“But the Executive’s ability to demonstrate that peace can deliver real economic change is being seriously damaged by the British government’s significant cuts. It must be challenged on this.

“The Irish government is a co-equal guarantor with the British government in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements.

“The government needs to urgently intervene and challenge this foolish and short-sighted approach by the British government.

“It needs a strategy to keep London to its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement and to remove the threat to the Executive and institutions created by its cuts agenda.”

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