Our equality agenda is not going away and there will never be a return to a one party state in the North again - John O’Dowd
The politics of the peace process has been both rewarding and frustrating for the citizens of Ireland.
The delivery of peace, the absence of conflict on our streets has tested leaders here and abroad in their ability to think differently, to imagine the unimaginable and to act in the interests of all rather than the few, narrow sections of society.
The eradication of conflict is not merely the absence of violence but the desire and courage to take on a new journey, which will continually bring you to uncomfortable and alien environments.
The signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement was an acknowledgement of the need for politics to work for all.
It was not a return to the past, it was not about who was right or wrong or an acknowledgement of which side suffered the most.
The Agreements were all about the desire for change.
For those vocal tiny minorities within political Unionism who still hanker after the idea of a pre 1969 Northern state with one party misrule and a subdued nationalist community I say to you - it quite simply is not going to happen.
For those Unionist leaders who allow that tiny vocal and at times violent minority to set your agenda and think that those who reject peace and peace making are the real voice of the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community then I say to you - take a look around you.
The Protestant Unionist Community are more articulate, are more visionary and wedded to the peace process than you give them credit for.
They are not being led by the laptop warriors, they are not being led by the flag protestors but sadly they are not being led by you either!
The leaders of Unionism have become deafened by the shouts of no surrender and blinded by the bonfires of hatred fanned up by those who simply don’t get it!
Sinn Féin are not going away!
Our equality agenda is not going away and there will never be a return to a one party state in the North again, Never, Never, Never again.
As an Irish republican I commit to sharing power with my Unionist neighbours, my fellow countrymen and women.
I commit to taking uncomfortable journeys to build peace and understanding with them.
I want to work with the DUP in a Power Sharing Executive but for power sharing to succeed the DUP have to want to work with Sinn Féin as equals.
That is what the DUP signed up to, Stormont of old is gone, all that remains is the building, the trappings of abused power are gone!
The new Stormont is built on equality and the only power that will reside in its corridors will be Power Sharing!
The DUP must lead from the front rather than being led by the few. They must give voice to the many within the Protestant Unionist Loyalist community who want peace, who support Power Sharing and want a better future for their young people.
Mar fhocal scoir.
This was never going to be an easy journey for any of us. There are enemies of peace and change in many quarters, those who seek failure for their own narrow agendas.
However there is far more who support peace, who support change and seek leadership.
Unionist and republicans need to continue this epic journey together safe in the knowledge there is no reverse gear and that the nay-sayers no longer set the course.