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Gerry Adams - Taoiseach must honour commitments

26 May, 2006


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP is in Waterford today, with party representative, David Cullinane, for a series of public events, including the launch of the party’s Health Policy document, hosting a health forum, meeting with local community and resident associations and addressing a public meeting.


Speaking in Waterford this morning Mr. Adams said that ‘the issue of northern representatives participating in the Dáil is of key importance’ and he said that on this issue ‘it is time for the excuses to end’.

He said “In the last fortnight the unelected EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fisher Boel, and the Australian Prime Minister John Howard were invited to speak to the Dáil.

If it is good enough for the EU Agriculture Commissioner and the Australian Prime Minister to speak to the Dáil, why can’t representatives from the Six Counties – elected Irish citizens representing Irish citizens - speak to a committee of the full house on matters pertaining to the Good Friday Agreement and which have a direct effect on citizens in this state?”


The Sinn Féin leader was critical of the Taoiseach’s reneging of commitments on this matter, and revealed that he intended writing to all of the political leaders in Leinster House asking them to support current efforts to restore the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, as well as facilitating elected representatives from the Six Counties speaking in the Dáil."

Mr. Adams said:

’The future of the Good Friday Agreement is in the balance and will be determined by the approach which the British and Irish governments, and the political parties, in particular Ian Paisley’s DUP, adopt to current efforts in the time ahead.

The Irish government in particular has a central role to play in defending the Good Friday Agreement and promoting Irish national and democratic rights. The issue therefore of northern representatives participating in the Dáil is of key importance.


During the Good Friday negotiations the Taoiseach committed to facilitate this.  Last July he re-iterated this commitment and pledged to use the report of the all-party committee as the basis to introduce this in September.  Earlier this year the Taoiseach publicly reneged on his commitment to proceed with northern representation in the Oireachtas.

The fact is that it is now four years since the all-party Oireachtas committee on the Constitution recommended speaking rights in the Dáil for MPs elected in the six counties.

Such a forum would have been invaluable in recent years in providing a space in which political, social, economic, justice and cultural matters could have been discussed and progress made.It would have helped significantly advance the all-Ireland and United Ireland agenda of all of the republican and nationalist parties, while allowing for a process of reaching out to unionists.

Providing for northern representation in the Dáil in the time ahead would strengthen this positive agenda for change while sending a clear message to negative unionism that the old days and old ways are finished.

It is time for the excuses to end.

In the last fortnight the unelected EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fisher Boel, and the Australian Prime Minister John Howard were invited to speak to the Dáil.

If it is good enough for the EU Agriculture Commissioner and the Australian Prime Minister to speak to the Dáil, why can’t representatives from the Six Counties – elected Irish citizens representing Irish citizens - speak to a committee of the full house on matters pertaining to the Good Friday Agreement and which have a direct effect on citizens in this state?

I intend to write to all of the leaders of the political parties in Leinster House to ask them to personally intervene and to do all they can to support efforts to restore the political institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement.

I will also be asking them to stand by the all-party Oireachtas committee recommendations and to accord Irish citizens living in the north meaningful opportunities to participate in the democratic life of the nation. This includes, as a first step, a facility for northern representatives to speak in the Dáil.

In doing so I am fully aware that some political leaders in Leinster House, including the Taoiseach, who initially supported this proposition have done a u-turn in recent years because of a perceived electoral threat from Sinn Féin. This is not good enough. If they are serious about a United Ireland – and they all claim to be; if they are serious about building the peace process; then they must urgently reconsider their position and support speaking rights in the Dáil for MPs elected in the north.”ENDS

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