‘Our responsibility is for the future’ - Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams will this evening speak at an event in the Library of Congress in Washington DC marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr. Adams will commend the work of those who helped achieve the Agreement and in particular George Mitchell who is tonight’s main speaker.
The Louth TD will also praise the consistent efforts of Irish America over many generations toward peace and a united Ireland.
Gerry Adams TD said:
“The Good Friday Agreement was a defining moment in our recent history but it is not a settlement. It never pretended to be. It is an agreement on a journey. Not the destination.
"For republicans and nationalists this is a united Ireland, arrived at democratically and peacefully through a referendum on unity, and for unionists it is about the maintenance of the union. It is for the people to decide.”
Speaking about Brexit and the current crisis in the institutions Gerry Adams warned that Brexit threatens the Good Friday Agreement.
Deputy Adams said:
“Regrettably, and with great reluctance Martin McGuinness resigned in January 2017. The tipping point was the DUP’s handling of the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal and the allegations from within the DUP of corruption by some in that party.
"But there were other factors including the failure by the DUP to embrace the equality, mutual respect and all-Ireland approaches enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.
"Since then the DUP has entered into an alliance with the Conservative Party at Westminster.
"As a result of this, and despite the majority of citizens in the North voting to remain within the EU, the DUP supports Tory Brexit legislation and its austerity agenda. Brexit threatens the Good Friday Agreement.
"Last month Sinn Féin and the DUP successfully negotiated a new draft agreement, an accommodation, rooted in the principles of the Good Friday Agreement, to restore the political institutions.
"I believe that the DUP leader and their negotiating team acted in good faith but unfortunately their party didn’t follow their example.
"The DUP leadership chose at the last minute to walk away. So, for now there is no Assembly or Executive.
"Sinn Féin has made it clear to the Irish and British governments that there can be no going back to British direct rule. The best option is for a return of the political institutions.
"However, it might well be that the power sharing institutions and all-Ireland political architecture may not be restored in the medium term.
"Until then, and in the interim, the Intergovernmental conference, which is part of the Good Friday Agreement, needs to be established by the Irish and British governments.”
Concluding Gerry Adams said:
“The promise of the Good Friday Agreement is for a new society in which all citizens are respected, and where fairness and justice and equality are the guiding principles. This is the only way forward.
"That includes a new and agreed Ireland and a referendum on Irish unity and a necessary process to achieve this.
"This must become a policy objective of the Irish government and all political parties and politicians who share this vision.
"We have had almost 100 years of partition and centuries of British involvement in Irish affairs. It’s time we shaped our own future for ourselves. This also should also be the objective of a British government."