Focus must be on advancing the peace process - not politically motivated accusations from the NIO
Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking during a meeting of the party‚s Ard Chomhairle in Dublin this morning described as 'disgraceful' attempts to criminalise republicans on the basis of politically motivated accusations from NIO securocrats. He said the politics of exclusion, which had failed for 30 years, would not be tolerated.
Mr. McLaughlin said:
"There is no doubt that the process has been in difficulty since December, when the DUP refused to sign up for power sharing government and this situation has been worsened as a result of Hugh Orde‚s politically motivated accusations yesterday. There is also no doubt that there are those within the NIO who are seeking to exploit this difficulty to bring about the exclusion of Sinn Fein and ensure that the comprehensive deal will not be achieved.
I believe that we need to look at the facts. The IRA has made clear that it did not carry out this robbery. Hugh Orde went to the media yesterday, not on the basis of facts or evidence, but on the basis of reports from securocrats who have been working to undermine the peace process for years now. The objective of all of this is to subvert efforts to build on what has been achieved and to halt the process of change.
The Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle has been discussing all of these matters this morning and there is deep anger at attempts to criminalise republicans and to set aside the rights of those who support our party.
"Sinn Fein's priority is to advance the peace process and to defend the rights of those who vote for us. We remain in contact with both governments and remain determined to continue to advance the agenda for change. The governments know how much was achieved before Christmas and that the priority must be to get the comprehensive deal across the line."
The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle also passed a motion extending condolences to the people of Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia and to the families of all those who lost their lives and were injured in the catastrophic tsunami that struck Asia on St. Stephens Day."ENDS