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Castlereagh provides clear evidence of DUP refusal to accept power sharing

29 October, 2004

Sinn Fein National Chairperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has said that the refusal of the DUP, including its Deputy Leader, Peter Robinson, to accept power sharing on Castlereagh council last night provides absolute evidence of the need for the cross-community safeguards and the power sharing requirements of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Over recent weeks Sinn Fein have been involved in intensive discussions in a focussed effort to break the log-jam and see the political institutions put back in place and the outstanding aspects of the GFA implemented.

"During that period it has become increasingly clear that, contrary to some positive posturing, that the DUP remain fundamentally opposed to the power-sharing and all-Ireland core of the Good Friday Agreement. The rejectionist demands of the DUP are now the primary obstacle to a comprehensive agreement.

"Last night the DUP Deputy Leader illustrated this in his outright rejection of power sharing in Castlereagh Council. Here was an opportunity for the DUP to show some generosity and imagination. Instead we saw the domination, intolerance and exclusion which have characterised Paisleyism over the past 3 decades.

"Sinn Fein is not prepared to countenance any dilution or erosion of the Good Friday Agreement - and that remains the objective of the DUP and therein lies the explanation for the current impasse.

"The two governments need to understand that there is no middle line between the protection of the Agreement and the destruction of the Agreement which the DUP seeks. It is the responsibility of the governments to defend the core fundamentals and principles of the Agreement and to make it clear that they cannot be changed.

"If the DUP do not accept this reality then the pro-Agreement parties, including the two governments, need to move on. The DUP cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change." ENDS

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