Sinn Féin will defend mandate - Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking tonight in Strabane on the eve of the expected report by the panel set-up by the British government to examine paramilitary activity said:
“Whatever its conclusions Sinn Féin will not tolerate any undermining of the rights of citizens who vote for Sinn Féin. This party has a mandate, democratically achieved at the ballot box and we will not accept any infringement or erosion of that mandate by the British government or anyone else.”
Gerry Adams told the latest public meeting in a series of leadership engagements across the north that:
“All of the parties signed up to the Mitchell Principles, including Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin is committed to these. Other political parties and the British government need to be equally clear. Every political leader needs to remember how we got here and what we agreed to.
“I am hopeful that the DUP will take up their Ministerial positions again soon. If that is the case then our collective focus must be for the Executive to deliver for citizens.
“We need to make politics work. The deliberately slow approach of unionist leaders to the Good Friday Agreement does not encourage this. On the contrary it undermines politics. So does the reluctance of unionists to work positively with nationalists and republicans.
“Key to the Stormont House Agreement for Sinn Féin was the achievement of a workable and sustainable budget to meet the challenges facing the Assembly and Executive and communities ravaged by decades of discrimination and inequality and conflict.
“The British government subsequently reneged on its commitments and a new round of financial decisions have been taken that will increase poverty and hardship for tens of thousands of families in the north already pinned to the collar trying to make ends meet.
“It is estimated that up to 120,000 families in the six counties will see their incomes slashed as a result of cuts to tax credits.
“Public services will also face additional cuts impacting on their ability to support society.
“The British government has also produced draft legislation that will subvert the agreements reached on dealing with the legacy of the past.
“Specifically, the legacy legislation produced by Theresa Villiers provides the British Secretary of State with the ability to use so-called national security concerns to block the provision of information from British state forces being given to victims and their families. Another clear breach of the Stormont House Agreement.
“It is thought that the panel appointed by the British government to make a determination on the status of proscribed organisations will report early this week. Let me be very clear. Whatever its conclusions Sinn Féin will not tolerate any undermining of the rights of citizens who vote for Sinn Féin. This party has a mandate, democratically achieved at the ballot box and we will not accept any infringement or erosion of that mandate by the British government or anyone else.
“The next few weeks will be among the most challenging the political process, and the institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement, will have faced in many years. The institutions are at grave risk of complete collapse; an outcome that will only embolden the dissident voices on all sides.
“If the current crisis is to be ended then the British and Irish governments must honour their commitments. They have failed to do this thus far. The British government has to provide a viable, workable sustainable budget, which allows the Executive to deliver public services and proper protections for the most vulnerable in our society.
“In the meantime Sinn Féin’s focus will continue to be on building a future based on equality, respect and inclusion. Our resolve is to ensure that no else suffers as a result of conflict; that no other family is bereaved; and that the experience of war and of loss and injury is never repeated.”