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DUP position unsustainable

5 June, 2005


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP today said that the current public position of the DUP was not sustainable.

Mr Adams said:

"For the past two years, since the British government suspended the political institutions at the behest of David Trimble, the political process has been gridlocked. On April 6th, in the context of inaction by the two governments and against a background of escalating recrimination which threatened to destroy the peace process, I made an unprecedented appeal to the IRA in an attempt to break the deadlock and to kick-start forward movement. It is my sincere hope and desire that the IRA responds positively to my appeal.

"We now have an unprecedented opportunity to make progress, to finally and conclusively deal with outstanding issues and to see the Good Friday Agreement realised in full. But the responsibility to secure and advance the peace process is a collective one and required others in political leadership to fulfil their responsibilities also.

"The British government has a key role to play and so to does the Irish government. But the leadership of unionism cannot continue to opt out of their responsibilities and this applies particularly to the DUP. Their increased mandate brings with it increased responsibility and an imperative to deliver for their electorate. The DUP needs to engage in a meaningful way in the political process and that means engaging, negotiating and talking with Sinn Fein.

"The DUP may find that is a very uninviting prospect. We can all find excuses not to engage. Ian Paisley's 'Smash Sinn Fein' campaign of the 1980's was the backdrop against Sinn Fein Councillors, activists and family members killed. That party's links to a succession of paramilitary organisations over 40 years are well documented.

"However, Sinn Fein recognises and respects the DUP‚s mandate and we know that a necessary element of any conflict resolution process is the primacy of inclusive, unconditional dialogue. This demands a serious, good faith effort to engage with political opponents.

"Dialogue with political opponents may be difficult, as much for Sinn Fein as for the DUP, but dialogue is the only way forward; the only way to build a lasting peace.

"The public position of the DUP is unsustainable. At some point the DUP will have to enter the world of real politics. How else do they hope to deliver for their electorate? If they do not want a return to the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement that is their choice and obviously they can refuse to participate. But they cannot stop the process of change. They can only play for time by trying to slow it down.

"Is that what unionism is reduced to? We now have an unprecedented opportunity to make progress. It requires, confidence, it requires courage and it requires leadership. That is the challenge facing the DUP." ENDS

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