‘Stay focused on peace process’ Adams urges Irish America and Capitol Hill
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD this morning attended a Memorial Mass in Washington for Martin McGuinness. He was accompanied by Martin’s two sons Fiachra and Emmett. Afterward he met separately with the Congressional Friends of Ireland group on Capitol Hill and later with the State Department.
The Sinn Féin leader also said that he is due to meet British Secretary of State James Brokenshire on Tuesday evening.
Gerry Adams said:
“I told both the Congressional Friends of Ireland Committee and the State department that Sinn Féin is fully committed to the restoration of the political institutions, but that this must be on a sustainable basis. The institutions have to work for everyone. They must also be based on respect, integrity and equality.
“I pointed out that the Irish and British governments have a key role to play in re-establishing the institutions, especially given that many of the rights issues are outstanding from the Good Friday and subsequent agreements.
“Sinn Féin is determined that in any future negotiation progress must be made on Irish language rights, marriage equality, the Bill of Rights, legacy matters and anti-sectarian measures.
“The British Secretary of State James Brokenshire is also in Washington. I am due to meet him on Tuesday evening. There is an imperative on his government to honour its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, including in respect of legacy issues.
“It is not acceptable that the British government has refused to honour commitments it made in the Stormont House Agreement on legacy three years ago.
“In particular, the British government has denied the inquest courts and the Police Ombudsman’s office the funding they need to fulfil their legal responsibilities. It has stymied the proposal by the Lord Chief Justice, Declan Morgan, for dealing with the inquests that have yet to take place relating to 97 deaths. Many of these deaths go back decades.
“As part of efforts to sideline legacy issues, the British Secretary of State recently said that his government would now consult on the legacy proposals. This is a cynical ploy to delay implementing the legacy proposals.
“I also discussed with the congressional leaders and State department the issue of Brexit and its implications for the Good Friday Agreement and the two economies on the island of Ireland. I outlined our proposal that the best way to defend the Good Friday Agreement, and to ensure that the two economies on the island are protected, is for the North to be assigned special status within the EU. It is also the only way in which the majority vote of citizens in the North to remain in the EU can be respected.”