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Murphy -Time for the DUP to enter the world of real politics

19 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MP for Newry Armagh Conor Murphy speaking at the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown said "On April 6, Gerry Adams made a direct appeal to the men and women volunteers of the IRA to embrace purely political and democratic activity.

The IRA leadership responded to this appeal by initiating an internal debate and we await the conclusion of those discussions. I have no intention today of commenting on this internal discussion. That is a matter for the IRA and, as Gerry Adams has repeatedly said, that organisation should be given the space to thoroughly debate these matters.

Of course it is clear that a positive response from the IRA would have an immediate and enormous impact on the political situation. It would restart the faltering peace process; remove from unionists their excuse for non-engagement and it would put enormous pressure on the DUP to come on board the peace process for the first time.

Of course the DUP may choose not to do so. Their current public position gives little cause for optimism. Their record of sectarian bigotry and intolerance, their offensive and provocative language, their association with loyalist paramilitaries and Ulster Resistance in particular, their 'Smash Sinn Fein Campaign' which accompanied the loyalist onslaught on our party members are all well documented. A campaign which saw Councillor Eddie Fullerton, Cllr John Davey, Cllr Bernard O?Hagan, Sheena Campbell and many other members of this party and family members and friends killed by unionist paramilitaries working hand in glove with the Crown forces.

But despite all of this Sinn Fein is prepared to do business with the DUP because they have an electoral mandate; just as they must do business with Sinn Fein because we have an electoral mandate; because we are the largest nationalist party in the north; the largest pro-Agreement party in the north and the third largest party on the island of Ireland.

At some point the DUP will have to enter the world of real politics. They will have to learn that there is no alternative to sharing power with Irish republicans; that there is no alterative to the all-Ireland architecture of the Good Friday Agreement and that their brand of politics, based on crude sectarianism, bigotry and intolerance, is a political cul-de-sac.I am firmly convinced that it is not a matter of if the DUP do a deal but when. And while the DUP comes to terms with these political realities, the two governments must push ahead with the agenda of change set out in the Agreement. They have been mandated to do so by the people of Ireland.

Commenting on attempts by the Orange Order to stir up tensions during the Marching Season Mr. Murphy said "Critically, as we face into the marching season, there must be no repeat of the decisions made by the British government last year which led to near disaster in Ardoyne. We have seen on Friday night how eager the PSNI are to provoke confrontation with nationalist residents. This issue is the very immediate test which the new British Secretary of State, Peter Hain, faces in the next few weeks.

Over recent weeks it seems that the Orange Order has taken a decision to increase tensions around the marching issue this summer. The only purpose of this is to poison further an already strained political atmosphere. They have filed for parades along a number of contentious routes and continue to refuse to engage with local communities.

It is very obvious that a difficult and contentious marching season will not be helpful to efforts to make political progress, whereas a peaceful and quiet summer would have the opposite effect. The Orange Order know this to be the reality also.

The strategy which they have embarked upon has the potential to undermine efforts to see political progress and many would contend that this is the motivation behind it. At a time when the Sinn Fein leadership and others are trying to put the political process back on track and when the IRA has embarked upon a process of internal consultation it is up to the Orange Order to explain in very clear terms the motivation and purpose of their strategy." ENDS

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