Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Gerry Adams' address to the Irish American Partnership luncheon in Boston today

29 July, 2003

The event, attended by over 300 people, raises funds for the Irish American Partnership. This organization provides financial support to community and educational projects in Ireland.

Mr. Adams said:

At this time there is little sign that unionism is contemplating a more positive approach to the Agreement, or that those who would advocate such an approach are in a position to deliver.

If this is the case does this mean the process is over?

That is essentially a question the unionists and the British government have to answer.

The British government has pandered to unionism. There can be no doubt about that. But the cancellation of the elections was motivated also by London‚s agenda. There can be no confidence that the political process will survive unless Mr. Blair commits to a date certain for the election as soon as possible, and without any preconditions or qualifications.

This is a matter of political principle.

It is the democratic imperative.

It is also the right tactical and strategic thing for Mr. Blair to do.

An election is also required to set a new context and to reinvigorate the process.

The two governments also need to make it clear that for unionism the Good Friday Agreement is as good as it gets.

There can be no renegotiation. The price unionism has to pay for a return to devolved structures, a northern Assembly, is that these are in an all-Ireland context with all-Ireland institutions and interlocking and interdependent political structures.

But if unionism refuses to play a partnership role with the rest of us then pottering along with direct rule is not an option.

If there cannot be political institutions of the kind envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement at this time then the two governments need to proceed along an all-Ireland path to implement all other elements of the Agreement, and within a democratic mechanism in which London and Dublin are both held accountable by the rest of us.

Such an arrangement needs to be put in place until the unionists are prepared to engage properly and on the basis of equality.

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