Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Leonard - solutions required not exclusion

5 March, 2005


Sinn Féin Cllr Billy Leonard for Colraine speaking to motion 211 on the Peace Process said: "We know the challenges of conflict resolution and will face them."

"We will discharge our responsibilities but others must do likewise and approach issues with a political realism. When issues like these are faced up to then national reconciliation is constructed and Sinn Féin will continue to be the major player in that process." Councillor Leonard said:

"Despite the froth and foam of the most appalling wall to wall campaign against a single party, Sinn Féin can still see through to the point where:

others will have to re-engage not disengage,

others will have to talk about solutions not exclusion,

In short others will just have to get back into political mode.

We are committed to our peace strategy and to the peace process. Only those who put their party before peace could deny the dedication of hundreds within Sinn Féin and thousands of supporters to building full peace and democracy in Ireland.

And yes there have been knocks ˆ but I‚m not referring to the politics of cops and robbers or the politics of association - I am referring to breakdown of progress last December.

People with vested interests have in recent weeks suffered amnesia about the history making deal that was so tantalisingly close.

But negotiations will come round again and Sinn Féin will once again honour its commitment to deliver a deal.

And a massive part of that strategy is the basic realisation that it is a process of conflict resolution. And conflict resolution processes around the world are complex, they take time and they require the players to at least realise that they are part of the problem.

This of course applies to unionism and to the British.

Let me select the problem of trust. Many talk about trusting republicans as if we were the only ones required to build that trust. But it is time others realised that republicans have real problems on trust. Issues such as the following are just passed off yet they are issues of trust:

- MI5 being the sole intelligence gatherer from 2007

- Obstructions placed in the way of establishing the truth about Dublin / Monaghan

- The Inquiry Bill which prevent the truth coming out for the Finucane family - a case of the law-maker using the law to prevent justice

So:

Republicans will not stand for the arrogance of others thinking they are not part of the problem. We know the challenges of conflict resolution and will face them.

We will discharge our responsibilities but others must do likewise and approach issues with a political realism.

When issues like these are faced up to then national reconciliation is constructed and Sinn Féin will continue to be the major player in that process.

We can and will build an increasing power base throughout Ireland, not for the sake of power alone, but for the sake of reconciling our nation through peace building.

I urge people to support motion 211.

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