Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McGuinness calls on White House and members of Congress to continue in their support of the Irish peace process

28 September, 2005


Speaking on Capitol Hill today in the company of 18 Republican and Democratic members of Congress, Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator, Martin McGuinness said "The historic nature of the IRA‚s actions in putting its weapons beyond use deserves a response from everyone involved in this process which is equally historic and forward thinking. I urge unionist leaders in particular to embrace this golden opportunity in the interests of all of our people." Today Mr. McGuinness met with US Envoy on Ireland Mitchel Reiss, 18 Republican and Democratic members of Congress and Senators Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"Monday‚s announcement that the IRA has fulfilled its commitment to put its weapons beyond use is historic and unprecedented in the long history of the Irish struggle for freedom. This development is a genuine attempt by the IRA to revive the peace process by conclusively resolving the concerns of unionists about its future intentions.

Monday's historic initiative creates the conditions, so often demanded by unionism for the re-establishment of the political institutions established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. We now have a golden opportunity to move forward into a new era of politics on the island of Ireland. We have the opportunity replace division and conflict with peaceful politics and dialogue. I would appeal to unionist to grasp this unique opportunity. That is the immediate and urgent challenging facing the DUP leadership.

Are they willing in the same spirit of generosity and openness to begin the process of engagement and reconciliation with their fellow citizens? Have they the confidence to represent their constituents in direct dialogue? Irish republicans right across this island and beyond are up to that challenge. We recognise and fully accept the electoral mandate of the DUP. We are prepared to sit down and talk with them despite our many political differences with them. We want to reach an accommodation with unionism in the interests of all our people. Irish republicans want to make peace with unionism.

The United States, the US administration and members of both the Senate and the Congress, including the Congress members here today, have played an enormous role in helping us to reach this point. I want to thank them and urge them to continue to support our efforts to bring the Irish peace process to a successful conclusion.

The historic nature of the IRA‚s actions in putting its weapons beyond use deserves a response from everyone involved in this process which is equally historic and forward thinking. I urge unionist leaders in particular to embrace this golden opportunity in the interests of all of our people."ENDS

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