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McGuinness - Core principles of Good Friday Agreement must be defended

27 September, 2004

Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP will this afternoon travel to the British Labour Party Conference in Brighton. Speaking before his departure Mr McGuinness said that 'the British government must be defend the core principles of the Good Friday Agreement'.

Mr McGuinness said:

"My message to the British Labour Party members and activists in Brighton this week will be very clear. The progress made over the past decade and indeed over the past number of weeks has been based on developing a process of change with principles of dialogue, power sharing, all-Ireland institutions and fundamental equality at its core.

"It is clear that the progress achieved at Leeds Castle is based upon a strong defence of these core principles. The two governments, and particularly the British government are in absolutely no doubt that there can be no comprehensive agreement if there is any attempt to dilute these fundamental principles.

"Last November, in the wake of the Assembly elections the DUP declared themselves as the new and confident voice of unionism. We have yet to see any evidence of this confidence. At Leeds Castle the DUP ran away from dialogue with Sinn Féin - hardly a sign of a confident leadership.

" Sinn Féin is the largest nationalist party and the largest pro-agreement party. The DUP need to come to terms with this reality. They need to have the confidence to engage and reach an accommodation in the interests of all our people. ." ENDS

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