Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McGuinness calls for intensification of peace efforts

2 September, 2006


The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle is meeting in Dublin today to deal with a  report from the party's negotiations committee in relation to a review of  Sinn Féin participation in the Hain Assembly.

Speaking following the meeting Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness said: "There were serious misgivings expressed at today's Ard Chomhairle meeting regarding the approach of two governments.  Following a lengthy discussion the Ard Chomhairle has agreed that Sinn Féin Assembly members will participate in the Hain Assembly, on the same basis as before the summer recess, with the sole purpose of restoring the Good Friday Agreement institutions and we will therefore engage only in work that genuinely contributes to that objective.'  Mr. McGuinness It is still possible to make progress in the coming period but it will only happen if  the Irish and British governments play a decisive role.  It is their responsibility to see major progress made in the time ahead and we need to see an intensification of efforts if that is to happen.’

Mr. McGuinness said:

"In June Gerry Adams announced that Sinn Féin intended to hold a review into our participation in the Hain Assembly.  Today we discussed the report presented by the party's negotiations committee which they produced following a series of meetings with the party's Ard Chomhairle, Assembly members, TDs and members of the party throughout Ireland.

"There were serious misgivings expressed at today's meeting at the approach of the British and Irish governments.  It was clear from the outset that the establishment of an Assembly with no powers and with a protracted time scale was going to cause difficulties and that has proved to be the case.  Despite the best efforts of the majority of parties very little progress towards restoration of the political institutions has been made over the last four months.

"There was also serious concern expressed that the stringing out of the process was seriously undermining public confidence and reducing the potential for progress, with repeated calls for the Irish and British governments to get a grip on the process in the coming weeks. The meeting was given a firm undertaking in writing from the British Secretary of State 'that achieving the deadline of restoration on or before 24 November is firm and immovable.'

"Following a lengthy discussion the Ard Chomhairle has agreed that Sinn Féin Assembly members will participate in the upcoming session of the Hain Assembly, on the same basis as before the summer recess,  with the sole purpose of restoring the Good Friday Agreement institutions and only in work that genuinely contributes to that objective.

"We want to see the power-sharing institutions restored before November 24th and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that the opportunities opened up last year are not squandered. It is still possible to make progress in the coming period but it will only happen if  the Irish and British governments play a decisive role.  It is their responsibility to see major progress made in the time ahead and we need to see an intensification of efforts if that is to happen.

"The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle and the party's elected representatives from the Assembly, Dáil, Westminster and European Parliament will meet in the Deerpark Hotel in Howth, County Dublin on Friday 8th September to discuss our approach to political events in the coming weeks, the upcoming elections in the 26 Counties and our political programme for the Dáil and Assembly."ENDS

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