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Sinn Fein Leadership Attend Loughgall Commemoration

6 May, 2007

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and the party nominee for the post of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were today joined by other members of the Sinn Fein leadership including MP Michelle Gildernew at the commemoration in Galbally County Tyrone to mark the 20th anniversary of the deaths of 8 IRA Volunteers at Loughgall.

Speaking from the event in his Mid-Ulster constituency Mr McGuinness said:

"We must never forget the sacrifices of many republicans and their families in the course of the last 35 years. Their courage and their integrity are beyond question. Ireland has undergone many changes in the twenty years since the events at Loughgall which saw the deaths of eight IRA volunteers and a civilian in an SAS operation. There remain many unanswered questions about the events of that evening and they are questions that the families of those killed are entitled to be answered.

"Just as Ireland has undergone many changes sine 1987 so to has the Republican struggle. The IRA have taken courageous decisions which I believe have advanced and strengthened our struggle and which open up for the first time since partition a democratic and peaceful path towards Irish unity and independence. Republicans are now on a political offensive. The challenge for Sinn Féin is to deliver on the undoubted potential which now exists.

"The new power sharing Executive which I will jointly head with Ian Paisley will begin its work on Tuesday. We are determined that this latest political initiative will not fail. We want to build a new relationship with unionists on this island. We want to demonstrate to them the benefits of sitting down and resolving problems ourselves and overcoming challenges without the need or interference of British Ministers with no mandate in Ireland.

"In the coming weeks we have an opportunity to bring our unique Republican analysis to the doorsteps in the South during the election campaign and into the government in the North. I am confident that people will once again respond in large numbers. Sinn Féin stand on the verge of holding real and meaningful political power. It is political power that we will use to make a real difference to people's lives and all of the time ensure that our
struggle moves forward.

"Sinn Féin are up for the challenges which lie ahead. We will bring to all of this our desire to overcome difficulties while at the same time setting all of our work within the context of our primary political objective which is to deliver Irish reunification and a genuine process of national reconciliation on the island." ENDS

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