Adams - engagment remains our central challenge
Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams MP speaking ahead of this weeks party conference on 'Building for Irish re-unification' has said that engagement in the All Ireland agenda and building on the progress achieved to date remain a challenge not just for Sinn Féin and republicans and nationalists but for the unionist community and leadership of unionism.
Mr Adams said:
"At a party conference on 'Building for Irish re-unification' this Tuesday, (23rd September 2003 at Stormont) Sinn Féin TDs, MPs, former MLAs and councillors along with party activists and members from across Ireland will meet to discuss the strategies for developing and consolidating the All Ireland architecture and the momentum for Irish re-unification.
"The substance of the Good Friday Agreement is about the rights and entitlements of citizens. It is about a new political dispensation on the island of Ireland and a new relationship between Ireland and Britain.
"Sinn Féin's focus has been to see the Good Friday Agreement fully implemented. Our approach is far-sighted and strategic. Our republicanism is about change - fundamental, deep-rooted change. It's about empowering people to make that change.
"Our vision is inclusive. We are committed to establishing an entirely new, democratic and harmonious future with our unionist neighbours. And we have still a lot to learn about the unionist viewpoint, about their concerns, fears and aspirations. One of the failures thus far of this process is that there has not been intelligent and pro active listening by all sides.
"We have to show unionists that Sinn Féin - that Irish republicanism - is a fundamental part of their future. That together we can build a future of equals on this island that empowers, protects and enriches everyone.
"There will be a united Ireland. And our task, and that of all sensible Irish political leaders, should be to prepare for reunification.
"This is a challenge not just for Sinn Féin and republicans and nationalists but also for the unionist community and leadership of Unionism.
"Engagement in the All Ireland agenda and building on the important progress achieved to date to deliver for all the people of Ireland remains a challenge for all the political leaders on this island. The challenge is to develop new strategies and new thinking that can address issues within an All Ireland context such as economic investment and infrastructure particularly but exclusively in border areas and West of the Bann, the future of our farming and fishing communities, a better future for rural Ireland and unleashing the potential of us all working together on this small island." ENDS
Note to Editors
Also on Tuesday evening there will be a meeting of the Sinn Féin Electoral Strategy Group. It expected that at both the 'Building for Irish re-unification' party conference and the Electoral Strategy Group meeting there will an opportunity for media access. Further details will be announced on Tuesday.