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Sinn Féin has made final representations on Governments' text

1 December, 2004

A Sinn Féin delegation today travelled to Downing Street for discussions with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and senior officials. The Sinn Féin delegation was led by party President Gerry Adams and included Martin McGuinness, Mitchel McLaughlin, Joe Reilly, Caitriona Ruane, Michelle Gildernew, Gerry Kelly and Mitchel McLaughlin.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Adams said that as far as he was concerned Sinn Féin 'had made its final representations on the governments text'.

Mr Adams said:

" As far as we are concerned we have made our final representations on the governments' text. We look to both governments to make sure that it is in line with their own criteria, that is, that it upholds the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement.

" The two governments are absolutely clear about Sinn Féin's view of their draft outline for a comprehensive agreement. Our party made our initial response when we received the document from the Taoiseach on 17th November. We gave this in writing to the two governments the next day. The criteria for our judgement on this document was also made clear. That is, that it needs to be bedded in the Good Friday Agreement and capable of delivering the Agreement.

" We also look to DUP leader, Ian Paisley, to face up to his responsibilities to join in the collective challenge of peace making.

" His refusal to talk to us makes this very difficult. His recent provocative remarks compound this. They also provide a rationale for his refusal thus far to embrace the power sharing, all-Ireland and equality fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement.

" Ian Paisley set out concerns about the issue of IRA weapons. Sinn Féin believes that this matter can be dealt with to the satisfaction of all reasonable people in the context of a comprehensive agreement. This can only be done under the tutelage of the IICD.

" A deal is still possible. An accommodation, a partnership of equals, cannot be built through a process of humiliation. Our focus is on achieving a deal. But it is only possible in the terms of the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS

Editors Note: On his return to Ireland this evening Mr Adams will address Sinn Féin activists in Navan, Co. Meath when he will deal in more detail with the current situation regarding the negotiations.

The meeting will take place in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan at 8pm and the media are welcome to attend.

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