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Mary Lou McDonald to address European Parliament on 'historic day for Ireland'

26 September, 2005


Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP will this evening address the European Parliament on the significance of the initiative by the IRA to verifiably and definitively dispose of its weaponry.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The enormity of what the IRA has done should be neither underestimated nor undervalued, and I want to take this opportunity to praise the IRA for taking risks, when others shirked their responsibilities.

"I will be briefing the European Parliament on the significance of today's events and calling upon people at a European level to continue assisting in the search for a lasting peace in Ireland." ENDS

Full Text of Speech:

As you may already be aware, the Irish Republican Army has taken another initiative to assist peace in Ireland. Today's courageous decision to verifiably and definitively dispose of its weaponry represents a major advance for the peace process in Ireland.

The enormity of what the IRA has done should be neither underestimated nor undervalued, and I want to take this opportunity to praise the IRA for taking risks, when others shirked their responsibilities.

An enormous responsibility has now been placed on the British and Irish governments to finally implement the Good Friday Agreement in all its aspects on issues such as equality, human rights, policing, demilitarization and northern representation - The Democratic Unionist Party, one of whose members is elected to this Parliament - must re-engage in the peace process. No possible excuse now exists for them not to sit down and agree a way forward with Sinn Féin and others.

So today we look forward with renewed hope and optimism. At the weekend thousands of Irish Republicans marched through Dublin city to demand an end to the partition of Ireland and an end to British rule. Sinn Féin rededicates itself to these objectives and looks forward with confidence.

I want to thank all of those within this Parliament who have in any way assisted in the search for peace in Ireland, and call upon you to continue that support in the weeks and months ahead.

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