Sinn Féin - On Your Side

British and Irish Governments must defend the Agreement

9 February, 2004

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MP Martin McGuinness speaking after meeting British Secretary of State Paul Murphy and Irish Government officials in Stormont today has said that the British and Irish Governments must defend the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking after Sinn Féin met with Paul Murphy and Irish government officials separately in Stormont today, Mr McGuinness said:

"The two governments have said that the Agreement is not up for renegotiation. They need to demonstrate this commitment by lifting suspension.

"Sinn Féin impressed on the British and Irish governments the need for this review to be carried out in the proper context. Lifting suspension will concentrate minds on how the review can lead to the effective implementation of the Agreement.

"It is our view that the approach of the British government to the Agreement has undermined both political stability and confidence. Republicans and nationalists are still not convinced that the British government will defend the Agreement.

"I also want to make it clear to both the British and Irish government and to the unionist parties that the All-Ireland parts of the Agreement and the Assembly and Executive are interlocking and interdependent. There won't be an Assembly unless the All Ireland agenda is fully functioning."

Commenting on the DUP proposals Mr McGuinness added:

"The DUP in their document explicitly demand a new Agreement. There will be no renegotiation of the Agreement. These proposals are clearly about a return to unionist majority rule. This is not acceptable. Sinn Fein will not allow a return to the misrule and abuse of power that was the hallmark of unionist rule in the past." ENDS

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