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Need for meaningful, ongoing engagement on north by Irish government – Adams

17 January, 2017 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, has said that in the aftermath of the Assembly election, a sea change in attitudes from all sides is needed; not least from the Irish government.

He appealed to the Taoiseach to commit to a meaningful, ongoing, strategic engagement with the north and with London to ensure all outstanding commitments in the Good Friday and subsequent agreements are delivered.

Teachta Adams said:

“Before I begin, I want to commend the outgoing deputy First Minister, and my friend, Martin McGuinness.

“In his role as deputy First Minister for the past ten years, and as Minister for Education before that, Martin’s time in office has at all times been guided by the principles of mutual respect and equality that underpin the Good Friday Agreement.

“A number of Teachtaí and Seanadóirí, from all parties and none, have sent good wishes to Martin, and he, his wife Bernie and his family appreciate all the messages of support he has received.

“It is the Democratic Unionist Party, and their handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme that has led to the Executive and the Assembly collapsing.

“Arlene Foster’s refusal to support a robust, independent investigation into the potential loss of half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money was the tipping point. That cost will be borne by unionists and nationalists alike. It is not an orange or green issue.

“There are of course other issues at play, including the DUP’s attitude to power sharing.

“Just look at the First Ministers refusal to uphold the Remain vote by citizens in the north in the Brexit referendum.

“Let me be clear, Sinn Féin is totally committed to the restoration of the political institutions.

“The Irish government also has a key role to play and it is their responsibility to ensure the agreements are upheld and implemented. Yet in recent years, they have consigned themselves to the role of spectators and occasional neutral commentators.

“The British government have refused to honour commitments on a Bill of Rights, on dealing with legacy issues and on Acht na Gaeilge. They won’t move unless they are held to account.

“In the aftermath of the Assembly election, a sea change in attitudes from all sides is needed; but not least from the Irish government, and I would appeal to the Taoiseach to commit to a meaningful, ongoing, consistent and strategic engagement with the north and with London and not just in times of crisis.”

He added:

“It is the duty of the Irish government to represent all of the people of the island.

“Republicans and nationalists in the north more often than not look to Dublin, but in the past ten years or so, that connectivity, that sense of togetherness, has been eroded.

“In the same way as I have asked the Taoiseach and others to have an all-island view of Brexit, I would appeal for the same approach to upholding and implementing the equality principles of the Good Friday Agreement.” 

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