Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Political grandstanding no substitute for solid work and political progress

5 March, 2005

Mary Lou McDonald MEP speaking in support of motions 63, 71 and 79 during the live section of the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2005 has said that political grandstanding and cheap political point scoring is no substitute for solid work and political progress.

The people of Ireland Irish endorsed the Good Friday Agreement. Both governments have a responsibility to work for its' full implementation. The Irish government cannot simply play second fiddle to a British or Unionist lead agenda. They must challenge any attempts to frustrate the implementation of the agreement and the political change envisaged in it. All of the political game playing of resent weeks does not alter this reality.

Playing for electoral advantage or cheap political point scoring must be set aside in the interests of the process. Political grandstanding is no substitute for solid work and political progress. Dublin must re-commit itself to an inclusive dialogue and negotiation.

Because when the dust has settled all of the outstanding issues around the democratic institutions, the equality agenda and policing must be resolved.

Within the agreement there are clear commitments to acknowledge the suffering and loss of victims and survivors of the conflict in Ireland. This week, British Secretary of State Paul Murphy has said that it is too early to begin a truth process outside of a political settlement.

But there is clearly a need to begin a genuine debate among all relevant parties on the timing and purpose of a truth process.

The British government have no right to tell the people of Ireland when or how they should develop a peace process. They are neither impartial observers nor independent ring holders in an internal Irish conflict. They were active protagonists in the conflict in Ireland. Especially their active role in collusion.

People from across the political spectrum want, and they deserve, truth and closure.

We are committed to the complete disarmament of all armed groups who have been involved in the conflict in Ireland. This is at the heart of the peace process. To provide a political pathway out of conflict and into an era of justice and equality in Ireland. And when Sinn Fein say armed groups, we mean all armed groups; British, Unionist/Loyalist and Republican.

The December deal held out the possibility of putting of all IRA weapons beyond use in a matter of weeks. This was a brave and historic offer. One that must be matched by others.

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