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DUP must follow Dublin talks with Sinn Féin meeting

28 September, 2004

Commenting on the news that DUP leader Ian Paisley is to lead a party delegation to Dublin later this week for talks with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said that the time had now come for the DUP to engage in face to face dialogue with Sinn Féin also.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"In the wake of the Assembly election last year the DUP promised a new more confident brand of unionism. So far we have seen little evidence of this new found confidence. The DUP are continuing to refuse to engage with Sinn Féin directly.

"If we have learnt anything from the development of this peace process over the past ten years it is that dialogue is the key to resolving problems and moving forward. Therefore I welcome the news that Ian Paisley is to lead a DUP delegation to Dublin to engage in talks with the Taoiseach and the Irish government.

"The message that the DUP is sending out from this meeting is that they are engaging today with people they refused to talk to yesterday. Sinn Féin are the largest nationalist party. If the DUP are to ever share power then they will have to share power with Sinn Féin. It is now time for the DUP to demonstrate to the nationalist community that they are capable of respecting electoral mandates and engaging constructively with political opponents. The time has now come to engage in face to face dialogue with Sinn Féin." ENDS

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