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Martin McGuinness Speech To MacGill Summer  School

21 July, 2006


Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP will this  evening address the annual Patrick MacGill Summer School in Glenties, County  Donegal. As part of a wide ranging speech Mr McGuinness will deal with the  current efforts to revive the political institutions, the role of the DUP in  this and the ongoing efforts by Republicans to deliver an effective and accountable policing service in the north.

Mr McGuinness will say that:

‘The current phase of the political talks are not about the  future of the Good Friday Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement is  non-negotiable. It has the democratic endorsement of referenda both north and  south and its is binding on both governments. The Good Friday Agreement must be  implemented come what may. So the current phase of discussion is about whether  or not the implementation of the Agreement will include a 6 county Assembly. No more and no less.’

He will also argue that:

‘The best people to make decisions about the lives of people  in the north are people who live there. That is the case with education, the  economy, health, the environment and housing. It is widely recognised that local ministers in the short-lived power-sharing executive, including DUP ministers  did a much better job that part-time British ministers.’

Mr McGuinness will praise the decision of the IRA to end its  armed campaign and deal conclusively with the issue of arms. He will state that the IRA have definitively and comprehensively addressed all of the issues presented as unionist concerns.

On the issue of policing Mr McGuinness will say that he has  ‘no doubt that we can achieve with others a transformation on policing which  will make it democratic, and accountable and which enjoys community  support.

‘Republicans and nationalists who have suffered from  partisan policing want a new beginning based on impartiality and accountability  more than anyone else.

I have no doubt that some day a republican could hold  Ministerial responsibility for policing north and south.’ ENDS


Full address being delivered by Martin McGuinness to MacGill  Summer School
follows:




                       RECONCILING ORANGE AND GREEN


                 A Lecture by Martin McGuinness, MP,  MLA

                       Patrick MacGill Summer School
                               July 21  2006



Only three weeks ago I visited one of the most heavily  militarised region
in the world - the border between the government and the  rebel held areas
of Sri Lanka. That stark and frightening frontier was a very  visible
expression of the political legacy of colonial occupation in that small
island. Ethnic groups, which had co-existed in relative peace for
centuries,  became sworn enemies as a result of the destructive and
divisive effects of  imperial domination. In many ways the divisions in Sri
Lanka mirror our own and  the method of resolving them is, in my view, the
same. A process of national  reconciliation and peace making is essential
and central to that process is  dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue.

One big difference between the situations here in Ireland  and that in Sri
Lanka is the enormous progress we have already made. The absence  of a real
and credible process of engagement in Sri Lanka threatens all out  civil
war. In contrast, the progress we have made over the last 12 years is a
direct result of the real and meaningful engagement between nationalism and
the  British government, between unionism and the Irish government and to a
more  limited extent between unionism and nationalism on this island. Our
peace  process is far from perfect but it is an undoubted success. The
Ireland we live  in now is a very different place from the Ireland of war
and conflict that  existed 12 years ago. It is a very different place from
the totalitarian Orange  state that existed in the north 40 years ago. The
Irish peace process is in many  ways the reworking of the relationships
between unionism and the rest of the  people of this island. And between
all of us on this island and the British  government.


British policy in Ireland has historically been the catalyst  for conflict
and division in our country. That has to end.

A successful  peace process is ultimately about ending the divisive
influence and effects of  the British jurisdiction on this island. That is
Sinn Fein’s core political  objective.

In the interim, the Good Friday Agreement is about removing  the most
extreme aspects and consequences of partition. It is about delivering
acceptable policing arrangements, ending discrimination, protecting
cultural and  language rights, defending human rights and delivering a
demilitarised,  politically tolerant and inclusive society.

The current phase of the political talks are not about the  future of the
Good Friday Agreement. The Good Friday Agreement is  non-negotiable. It has
the democratic endorsement of referenda both north and  south and its is
binding on both governments. The Good Friday Agreement must be  implemented
come what may. So the current phase of discussion is about whether  or not
the implementation of the Agreement will include a 6 county Assembly. No
more and no less.

The only obstacle to the restoration of that Assembly and  the
power-sharing executive is the refusal of the DUP to be part of these
institutions. That is their prerogative but let there be no doubt that the
process of change will continue and it is better for all of us in political
leadership, and for our constituents, if we are directing and managing that
process of change through a functioning power-sharing Executive. That would
certainly be preferable to the bad decisions that are being taken every day
by  British direct rule ministers.

But I also believe that a functioning Assembly, with a  power-sharing
Executive and cross-community safeguards, is the best and most  efficient
means of building trust, confidence and mutual understanding between  Irish
Republicans and unionists. It is the best way of sustaining and
progressing the enormous work already achieved in reconciling Orange and
Green.

It is also the best way of tackling the very real issues  that affect all
of the people of the north - and on the island of Ireland. The  reality is
that partition has failed. It has failed the people in the south. It  has
failed nationalists in the north. It has failed the very community it was
designed to safeguard. It has failed unionists.


Unionist working class communities suffer high unemployment  and
educational under achievement.


No one any longer argues that there is any economic  merit in the partition
of this small island. On the contrary all economic  advantage lies in
Ireland as a single island economy.


No unionist leader can believe that British direct rule is a  good thing.
It has resulted in job losses, privatisation, increased rates, water
charges, education cuts, falling incomes for those working in agriculture,
a  failure to produce any strategy to deal with suicide prevention, and
much  more.
The best people to make decisions about the lives of people in the  north
are people who live there. That is the case with education, the economy,
health, the environment and housing. It is widely recognised that local
ministers in the short-lived power-sharing executive, including DUP
ministers  did a much better job that part-time British ministers.

So also with policing and justice. Last week, here at the  Mac Gill Summer
School, the British Secretary of State addressed this issue and  criticised
Sinn Fein for demanding that the Good Friday Agreement commitments on
policing and justice be implemented and delivered in full. So I want to
address  this issue directly. Sinn Fein wants to see a community police
service,  representative and democratically accountable to the people they
serve through a  locally elected minister.

People have a basic right to feel safe in their  homes and communities.
They have a right to a police service which will  act impartially and which
will behave in a responsible and accountable  way. They have a right to a
police service which does not engage in  political policing. They have a
right to a police service which is not run  by MI5 or any other British
security agency.

Sinn Féin is not  holding back on policing as Peter Hain tried to suggest.
Indeed many  nationalists are puzzled by the foot dragging of the British
government and ask  why seven years on from the Patten Commission’s report
we are still awaiting  further policing legislation. Has it anything to do
with Britain’s efforts  to cover up decades of state collusion with
loyalist death  squads?

Republicans have a vested interest in the creation and delivery  of proper
policing. It is our communities which have suffered most as a  result of
decades of a unionist militia posing as a police service. We are
determined that an effective police service, which is democratic and
accountable, becomes part of the fabric of life in the Six Counties and the
entire island..

Substantial progress has been made in relation to policing  because of the
work of republicans. We have made sure that the British  can’t walk away
from this issue. Policing has been and continues to  be a central part of
ongoing political negotiations.


I am absolutely convinced that the final pieces can be put  in place if the
two governments live up to their commitments on transfer of  powers and if
the political will exists amongst all the political  parties.


I have no doubt that we can achieve with others a  transformation on
policing which will make it democratic, and accountable  and which enjoys
community support.

Republicans and nationalists who have suffered from partisan  policing want
a new beginning based on impartiality and accountability more than  anyone
else.

I have no doubt that some day a republican could hold  Ministerial
responsibility for policing north and south. The need for  accountable
policing is nowhere more obvious than in the activities of some  members of
the Garda Siochana in this county over many, many years. The focus of  Sinn
Fein is on transforming policing, not accepting a failed status  quo.

Sinn Fein wants to work with unionist to deliver this and to  deliver the
wider benefits of a stable and effective local administration. I  know that
many unionists care deeply about their community. They want to see
stability, peace and prosperity and they have worked with Sinn Féin in
committees and in local council chambers councils. Yet the DUP remains
implacably opposed to the restoration of a locally elected and accountable
Assembly.

Unionism, and the DUP in particular, need to come to terms with  the new
political world in which we are living. There is no excuse any longer  for
non-engagement.

Last year the Sinn Fein President appealed to the IRA to  take the
courageous step of committing themselves to purely political means and
resolving the issue of IRA weapons. I endorsed Gerry Adams appeal in the
speech  I made here in the Glenties last July. The IRA responded by
definitively and  comprehensively addressing all of these issues, which had
been presented as  unionist concerns about the IRA’s future intentions.

Those IRA decisions opened up new and unprecedented  opportunities for
progress towards national reconciliation and of an historic  accommodation
between Orange and Green. But unionism also faces challenges and  choices
in this project. If they claim to be democrats, then the Democratic
Unionist Party has to accept and respect the electoral mandate of Sinn
Fein.  Sinn Fein is the largest nationalist party in the north; Sinn Fein
is the third  largest and the fastest growing party on the island.
Republicans and  nationalists have great difficulty in the concept of
sharing power with Ian  Paisley who for decades churned out sectarian and
religious extremism. On July  12 this year we were treated to more of the
same. But despite this, Sinn Fein  does recognise and accept the DUP’s
electoral mandate.

These are the current political realities which we all have  to come to
terms with if we are to put conflict, hatred and division behind us.  We
can continue to disagree politically but that should not prevent us
delivering accountable, democratic government for our shared
constituencies. It  should certainly not prevent us building a better more
peaceful future for all  our children. And the only way to do this is
through political dialogue.

But whatever the approach of Ian Paisley in the months ahead, the  reality
is that the process of change will continue. And the best option for
unionists and the rest of us is to collectively manage the changes that are
coming.

Regardless of the disposition of the DUP, republicans will  continue to
engage with unionist communities. Republicans and loyalists are  already
working together with enormous benefits for their respective communities
in interface areas. This summer these on-the-ground efforts and initiatives
delivered the most peaceful marching season in decades. The DUP played no
part  in any of this. However, the DUP need to acknowledge and learn the
positive  lessons of these local engagements.

Ten years ago we would have been talking theoretically about  the need to
reconcile Orange and Green. In the Ireland of 2006, we are now  taking
about completing a process that is already well underway and which has
already been enormously successful.

The process of reconciling Orange and Green is already  happening based on
principles of equality, inclusivity and mutual  respect.

And as this process progresses we have new challenges to  deal with. We can
no longer talk only about two historic traditions on the  island. We now
have many new Irish who bring their own traditions, perspectives  and
cultures to our island. A small minority on this island have responded to
these challenges negatively through racist intolerance and violence. We
need to  confront sectarianism wherever it occurs and we also need to
confront, with as  much determination and energy, racism wherever it
occurs. The New Ireland that  we are all part of needs to reconcile Orange
and Green but it also needs to  embrace new cultures and people. We all
need to acknowledge and accept  difference - to celebrate the enriching
diversity of our modern, multi-cultural  Ireland.”ENDS

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