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Kenny signed up to British agenda at North talks – Adams

16 December, 2014 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has accused the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny of signing up to a British Government agenda to obstruct efforts to get truth and justice for the victims of state violence and collusion, including the family of murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Mr Adams asked the Taoiseach why he had signed up to a paper that it runs against the spirit and letter of the Good Friday and other Agreements.

Gerry Adams said:

“The power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions currently face major economic and political challenges. The economic challenges arise from the British Tories’ austerity policies, the reduction of the Executive’s block grant and the lack of the financial powers needed to remodel the local economy.

“The political challenges arise from the British government’s refusal to honour agreements and political unionism’s resistance to power sharing and partnership. No party in the North's Executive has a mandate to implement policies which undermine political agreements and attack the rights and welfare of the most vulnerable in society.”

Mr Adams said that last week Enda Kenny and David Cameron tabled, on a take it or leave it basis, a paper which did just this:

“The Irish Government’s willingness to sign up to a joint Government paper that doesn’t mention Acht na Gaeilge or a Bill of Rights and which acquiesces to the British Government’s use of ‘national security’ to deny information for victims or to close down Article 2 compliant inquests, was deeply disappointing.

“Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish Government has a responsibility, as co-equal guarantor, to uphold all aspects of the agreement and to ensure that the British Government does likewise.”

He asked the Taoiseach to explain why he agreed to a paper which is so deficient that it runs against the spirit and the letter of the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements, some with an international status.

“Taoiseach, in your presence, the British Prime Minister told me that he would not be establishing an inquiry into the killing of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, as he is obliged to under the Weston Park Agreement. You sat silently. Not one word.

“The British Government is still trying to obstruct efforts to get truth and justice for the victims of state violence and collusion. Why did you sign up to this agenda?

“Taoiseach, you cannot be a passive spectator. You are not a junior partner. You are the Taoiseach. As co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, you are duty bound to stand by it and subsequent agreements.”

The Sinn Féin Leader itemised  other outstanding commitments yet to be implemented on the Taoiseach’s watch which include a Civic Forum in the North, An all-Ireland Consultative Forum, A Bill of Rights, An all-Ireland Charter of Rights, A Joint North/South Committee of the two Human Rights Commissions, Compliance with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Mr Adams said the current talks in the North could succeed and a deal could be done.

“But this will not be on a purely British or unionist agenda. Irish national interests must be upheld.” He said this was the Taoiseach’s responsibility.


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