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SDLP played no role in recent negotiations

2 January, 2007

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin today reminded people that the SDLP played no role in the recent political negotiations and had instead sought to reduce issues of key importance to nationalists to the level of petty politicking.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Throughout the past number of months Sinn Féin has been involved in a detailed negotiation with the British government on a number of crucial issues, particularly the policing issue.

"The SDLP played no part in this negotiation. Instead they sat on the sidelines. As we sought to move the British government on key issues including the transfer of powers, plastic bullets and MI5 the SDLP engaged in petty party politicking.

"Sinn Fein remained at the negotiating table until we secured full delivery on the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement. We did not settle short, give up, give in or jump too soon.

"Contrast this to the approach adopted by the SDLP. They told us that there was no point in trying to get rid of the RUC, they accepted MI5, they sat on a policing board which purchased plastic bullets, they accepted British Army involvement in crowd control situations, the very circumstances that led to the Bloody Sunday massacre. They claimed coming out of St Andrews that they had negotiated Annex E which would give MI5 a central role in policing in the north. Sinn Fein rejected this and put this issue at the centre of the recent Christmas negotiation.

"While Sinn Fein spent Christmas negotiating for change in the interests of all our people, the SDLP it seems have spent their time preparing for the now traditional attacks on Sinn Fein and reducing issues of key importance to nationalists to the level of petty politicking." ENDS

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