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Sinn Féin will not allow mandate to be set aside

10 January, 2005


Speaking in Belfast this morning Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness has said now is not the time for the governments to throw in the towel on the talks and set to one side all that has been achieved in recent months.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"Sinn Féin's priority for the last fifteen years has been to secure a peace process, transform politics on the island and advance the argument for Irish unity. We have invested huge time and resources in the peace process, as have others, and we will not allow unsubstantiated allegations to deflect us in our work.

"It is disappointing that people are prepared to accept the word of Hugh Orde despite the fact he has not produced one iota of evidence to suggest that republicans were behind this robbery. His political intervention was as a result of intelligence reports from faceless securocrats who have a less than honourable record in this country.

"The people on whose word these unsubstantiated allegations are being made are the same people who for years colluded with loyalist squads in their own interests, who forced an orange march down the Garvaghy Road, who eroded essential parts of the Good Friday Agreement and who today are still refusing to co-operate with inquiries such as that into the Dublin Monaghan bombings. Maybe it is the actions and integrity of these people that should be subjected to scrutiny.

"For almost a decade we have worked closely with Bertie Ahern, as leader of Fianna Fáil and as Taoiseach. We have done so with honesty and in a straightforward manner, at all times, including when things were difficult. I reject outright accusations of double-dealing and dishonesty and stand on our record.

"Sinn Féin is a major player in the peace process because over 340,000 people voted for us. We will not allow our mandate to be set-aside on anyone's behalf. Now is not the time for the governments to throw in the towel on the talks and set to one side all that has been achieved in recent months. I am not dismissing the difficulties that this robbery has caused because even before this incident there were difficulties created by the DUP's refusal to share power with Sinn Fein. Instead of responding to an agenda being set by those who oppose the peace process and who use every opportunity to undermine it, political leaders need to examine the facts, defend the Agreement and move on." ENDS

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