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Adams - Only way forward is through the Good Friday Agreement

22 May, 2005


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking in Belfast this morning said "The DUP leader Ian Paisley declared recently that the Good Friday Agreement is dead. The reality, acknowledged by the Taoiseach on Friday, is that any move forward in this post-election period has to be bedded in the Good Friday Agreement and in the acceptance by the DUP of the Agreement's core principles."

Mr. Adams said:

"In the negotiations at the end of last year Sinn Fein insisted that the core principles and fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement had to be defended. As a result the DUP moved reluctantly to accept the fundamentals of the Agreement, which was expressed in those elements of the Comprehensive Agreement published by the two governments last December, which dealt with the Good Friday Agreement.

"The DUP leader Ian Paisley declared recently that the Good Friday Agreement is dead. The reality, acknowledged by the Taoiseach on Friday, is that any move forward in this post-election period has to be bedded in the Good Friday Agreement and in the acceptance by the DUP of the Agreement's core principles. These include:

· Power-sharing government on the basis of the d'Hondt formula;

· Working with Sinn Fein in the Executive and in the joint office of the First and Deputy First Ministers;

· Full participation in the other institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement including the all-Ireland Ministerial Council;

· The transfer of powers on policing and justice to the Executive;

· Developing the all-Ireland institutions;

· Accepting the need for equality and human rights;

· Measures to counter sectarianism and racism;

· Using their influence to remove all guns from society, including the weapons of Ulster Resistance.

"There is now an unprecedented opportunity to move forward. But this can only be achieved on the basis of equality, inclusion and mutual respect. The DUP can be part of the process of change or they can opt out. But they cannot veto progress. If they do not come on board, then the responsibility falls to the two governments s to make progress with the parties who are committed to the Agreement and to moving forward in partnership and co-operation.

"Obviously there must be a little space to allow the governments to make this clear to the DUP and to prepare the way forward. This has to include preparations to ensure the Orange Marching season is peaceful. The DUP has a role to play in this. So too do the Loyal Orders. But the main responsibility lies with both governments. They have to ensure that people can live free from sectarian harassment. This includes freedom from contentious parades."ENDS

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