Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McGuinness - Time to deliver Good Friday Agreement has come

29 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP and Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly were in London today for a series of engagements. Speaking to the media at Westminster Mr McGuinness expressed his surprise at comments from SDLP leader Mark Durkan overnight, when he called on the governments to stop pressurising the DUP.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Pro-Agreement opinion across Ireland has for years been calling on the two governments to end the pandering to the DUP and put pressure on that party to accept the democratically expressed wishes of the Irish people and row in behind the institutions laid out in the Good Friday Agreement.

"It seems unbelievable that when many feel the two governments may be about to make a significant effort to see the institutions put back in place and exert the sort of pressure required on the DUP, and at a time when the DUP are isolated in their refusal to move forward, that the SDLP would call on the governments not to follow through with this course of action. Their latest position flies in the face of the political realities we currently face.

"Sinn Féin has consistently urged the governments to take the lead in driving forward the Good Friday Agreement agenda and we are in daily discussions with them. The next short period is therefore crucial to the future of the political institutions.

"Any proposal by the governments to reconvene the Assembly must be to give effect to the Agreement. That means electing a government to run the affairs of the north.

"Sinn Féin is opposed to any shadow Assembly with committees scrutinizing the work of British Direct Rule Ministers. Changing or altering the institutional structures of the Good Friday Agreement to facilitate the DUP is not acceptable.

"Irish republicans have taken significant initiatives to advance the peace process, particularly last year. It's now over to the governments to deliver. It is now over to the DUP to deliver.

"Tomorrow the Sinn Féin leadership will meet the Irish government. Its responsibility is to deliver the Agreement. If the DUP refuses to participate then the British and Irish governments must move ahead." ENDS

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