Sinn Féin - On Your Side

McGuinness encourages people to make their voice heard on Policing issue

21 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness speaking from Lurgan before the latest public meeting on the policing issue, said that the big crowds attending both the public meetings and the republican gatherings over recent days showed a vibrant community wanting to participate and wanting to have their voice heard in this crucially important debate.

Mr McGuinness said:

"When we set out our intention to embark upon a series of public and party meetings throughout the island before next weekends Ard Fheis we wanted to see the maximum participation from both the republican grassroots and the wider nationalist community in this debate. That is clearly what is now underway. Yesterday in Belfast I spoke to well over 1000 republicans. Well over 1500 people attended the public meetings in Toome and Galbally. I am sure that his trend will continue today in Crossmaglen, Lurgan and Newcastle.

"It is clear from the meetings so far that the broad nationalist and republican community want to have this debate. We have set out our position and are seeking community support for this. It is clear that people want to make their voice heard. I have to say that I am greatly encouraged by the vibrancy, the focus and the quality of the debate so far. It is evidence of a community that is intent on moving forward with even greater confidence than before. It is evidence of a community relishing the challenges which will lie ahead.

"But we are acutely aware of the difficulty of this debate for many nationalists and republicans. It is our communities who have suffered from decades of partisan political policing. Our objective is to end that experience forever.

"That is why we are trying to ensure that everyone within our society who wishes to participate can have their say. That is crucially important and I would once again encourage people who hold whatever view on this matter not to allow the opportunity to participate to pass."ENDS

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