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Irish Government must make message clear to DUP

30 September, 2004

Speaking as the DUP leader Ian Paisley led a party delegation to meet with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin, Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP said that it was important that the Irish government made it clear to the DUP that they would not be compromising the fundamental principles which underpin the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Doherty said:

" While we obviously welcome the visit of the DUP to Dublin and the engagement with the Irish government today it is important that the DUP follow this change of direction up with direct dialogue with Sinn Féin. Direct and meaningful dialogue is the best way to ensure progress and forward movement in the time ahead.

" However since the Assembly election last year and during the recent talks at Leeds Castle the DUP have failed to convince any of the major pro-Agreement parities of the merits in their anti-Agreement position.

" The DUP are on record as stating that they wish to destroy the Good Friday Agreement. The Irish government are with the British government the co-guarantors of that Agreement and it is crucial that they make it clear to the DUP this afternoon that none of the fundamental principles which underpin the Good Friday Agreement are up for negotiation. Sinn Féin will not countenance changes to the Agreement which are aimed at diluting the power sharing and all-Ireland provisions and providing a basis for the return to unionist rule.

" It is important that the momentum created at Leeds Castle is built upon. The DUP are currently preventing this from happening. The two governments cannot allow this to continue and must move on. There can be no longer any excuse for delay and this must be made clear to the DUP." ENDS

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