20 years after IRA cessation, positive change must replace political inertia – Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD, writing in today's Guardian newspaper, has said that the British government has made no effort on outstanding issues from the Good Friday and other agreements.
Mr Adams, whose article marked the 20th anniversary of the IRA cessation of 1994, also said that Tory proposals for changes to the welfare system in are part of a Thatcherite agenda designed to dismantle the welfare state.
The Sinn Féin Preident said an anti-Good Friday agreement axis within unionism, the pro-unionist stance of the British secretary of state, Downing Street’s refusal to honour its obligations and its efforts to impose welfare cuts have combined to create the most serious threat to the political institutions in the North in recent years.
Mr Adams said:
"Most worryingly, there is no evidence from Downing Street, the Northern Ireland Office or unionist leaderships of any likelihood of a negotiation on outstanding issues.
"Political logjams have been reinforced. This is seen in a failure to support the Haass compromise proposals on dealing with legacy issues including flags, symbols and parades, and in the speed with which the Cameron government acquiesced to Peter Robinson’s demand to establish the Hallett inquiry into so-called “on the runs”.
"The British government has made no effort on outstanding issues including a bill of rights, an Irish language act, the north-south consultative forum and the inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. These are not matters for negotiation, but agreements made.
"In addition, the Tory-led government wants to impose changes to the welfare system mirroring those introduced in England, Scotland and Wales with disastrous consequences for the disabled, unemployed and the low paid. These changes are part of a Thatcherite agenda designed to dismantle the welfare state. Sinn Féin will oppose them."
Mr Adams said Sinn Féin is committed to the Good Friday agreement and the political institutions and will resist efforts by unionist leaders to roll things back.
"The deepening political crisis puts the onus on the Irish and British governments to create a different political context. This requires the two governments, in conjunction with the US administration, to establish a pro-agreement axis among parties in the north.
"It means the Irish and British governments making progress on issues that are their direct responsibility. Twenty years on, it is vital that positive change takes the place of political inertia."
Gerry Adams' article can be read in full at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/31/northern-ireland-political-process-twenty-years-ira-ceasefire