Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Martin Ferris Speech on Motion 138

18 February, 2006

In calling on Bertie Ahern's Government to implement the measures called for in this motion, Sinn Féin is doing no more than requesting that the recommendations of the All Party Committee on the Constitution be implemented, and indeed that the explicit promises given by the Taoiseach to Sinn Féin in the course of negotiations be honoured.

I happened to be present on one of the occasions on which the Taoiseach gave an undertaking to facilitate the participation of elected representatives from the Six Counties in Leinster House, and any attempt on his behalf to go back on that is a clear breach of promise. Then again, we ought to be used to a situation now whereby the only people who are expected to adhere to every word and nuance of past agreements, and indeed to continually go beyond them, are republicans. It seems that everyone else is free to renege on whatever no longer suits them or which is no longer expedient.

I am also aware that the current Taoiseach is under pressure from the right wing pro-British rump within his Government who are opposed to allowing other Irish representatives from participation. This has led to a situation where not only can refusnik Unionists hold things up on their own, but that they have the support of members of the Irish Government who are acting against the wishes of the majority of the people of this island.

Minister McDowell is fond of employing McCarthyite phraseology about republicans. Well, to take up that theme I have no equivocation in accusing him and his right wing pro-Unionist party of being a Fifth Column. They have continually attempted to subvert the Good Friday Agreement and to sabotage political progress. In that they are no different in any way to the DUP or the anti-Agreement elements within the British security services. They share the same agenda and the same objectives.

The best way to frustrate these enemies of progress is to press ahead despite them. In fulfilling the demands called for in this motion Bertie Ahern will be not only be meeting his own obligations, he will also be fulfilling the wishes of his own party members who are unhappy with the PD unionist veto on progress.

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