Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Adams - Time to implement the Good Friday Agreement

10 April, 2003


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP this morning addressing a press conference to mark the fact that we are almost 5 years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The West Belfast MP said,

"The Good Friday Agreement was the culmination of an enormous collective effort by the two governments and the parties to tackle the causes of conflict.

"It was about change - fundamental and deep-rooted change across all aspects of society.

'The Agreement with its new institutions, including its all-Ireland structures, was voted for by the overwhelming majority of people on this island. It had and continues to hold the promise of a new beginning for everyone. The Sinn Féin focus in the last five years has been to see the Agreement implemented, to deal with all of the issues, including that of arms.

'There has been significant progress. In the limited time that the institutions existed they worked and were very popular. Clearly things are much better today than they were 5 or 10 years ago.

"However, the reality is that the Good Friday Agreement has not been implemented in full.

"Sinn Féin has been addressing this failure in our discussions with the two governments and the other parties.

"Consequently, we have made considerable progress on a number of specific areas. These include policing, crimiinal justice, and the stability of the institutions, demilitarisation, human rights and equality.

"But critical issues remain. These include, the transfer of power on policing and justice and the suspended status of the institutions and the absence of any clear commitment from the Ulster Unionist Party that it will work the institutions in a sustainable way. There is also the attempt to introduce sanctions against Sinn Féin, which are clearly outside the terms of the Agreement. This is unacceptable.

"However, we continue to engage on these issues.

"There is also a lot of focus in the media about what the IRA is going to do. I am not going to speculate on that but I do want to remind everyone that all of the issues in the Good Friday Agreement are issues of entitlements and rights - not subject to precondition by governments, political parties or armed groups, This time five years ago the Good Friday Agreement would have been seen as an impossible achievement. Five years on let us not underestimate the progress that has been made.

"Sinn Féin will judge any proposals published by the two governments on whether they implement fully and in good faith the Good Friday Agreement.

'This party has not strayed one coma from the Agreement in our call for its implementation by the two governments. In calling on them to fully implement the Agreement we are asking them to do what they undertook to do five years ago. It is now once again hand of history time." ENDS

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