Not naïve but hopeful – Gerry Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD is in New York today to address the annual Irish Echo ‘Irish Labour Awards’ event tonight.
These are the seventh annual Irish Labour Awards. Each year these awards bring together the leaders of Irish American Labour and celebrate their extraordinary hard work on behalf of their members.
The Sinn Féin President used the opportunity to update the union leaders on the efforts to restore the political institutions in the North.
Gerry Adams said:
“In the past fortnight Sinn Féin’s leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has met with all the party leaders and the Irish and British governments. For more than a week Sinn Féin and DUP leaderships have been engaged in intensive private dialogue to explore whether a basis for renewed negotiation exists.
“Despite the enormous challenges in trying to find a possible agreement we believe it is incumbent on us all to find a solution which brings about a serious step change in how the institutions must operate.
“Next week will see the commencement of formal inclusive negotiations between all of the parties and two governments. I am not naive about the challenges facing all of us but I am hopeful that we can end the current crisis and restore the political institutions on the basis of equality and respect. That is Sinn Féin’s objective and intent in the negotiations.
“I also want to say a few words about Brexit. The rights of workers, their jobs and standard of living, are under serious threat as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and drag the North with it.
“Brexit presents for the island of Ireland the most serious social, economic and political threat for a generation.
“A cross-community majority in the North voted against Brexit and to Remain within the EU. They did so because it's in their best economic interests to do so.
“The Irish government has a responsibility to defend that vote and to act in the best interests of all the people of this island.”
The Sinn Féin leader also appealed to Irish America to redouble its efforts in the efforts for peace. Mr Adams said:
“We need our friends in Irish America, in the wider Irish diaspora, and in the trade union movement to stay focused and to increase your lobbying of the US government in support of peace in Ireland. At a time when there is talk of the White House scrapping the special US envoy to Ireland we are asking Irish America to redouble its efforts.”