28 October 2000
A Timetable for Disaster
Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has described today's UUC conference vote in support of a position outlined by David Trimble as ``destructive and ill-advised. It is a timetable for disaster''.
Mr. Kelly said:
``Last night Gerry Adams urged Mr. Trimble not to go down this road but to work with nationalists and republicans to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is implemented in full, that all parties keep their commitments and that we provide the better future people voted for in May 1998.
``Mr. Trimble ignored this advice.
``Yesterday in his letter to Council delegates David Trimble set out his objectives as:
- a crisis around the Executive and the Assembly
- suspension of the Agreement
- blame to be attached to republicans.
``Today he set out his plan to achieve these.
``These have now been endorsed by the UUC.
``The menu set out by the UUP leadership is evidence of an absence of commitment to the Agreement and the Peace Process - it reflects a hankering after the failed status quo which all politically sane people accept to be untenable.
``Today's debate within the UUC and the differing proposals proffered shows that there is little difference between the Yes camp and the No camp. The difference is tactical.
``The reality is that Mr. Trimble has not stood up to Jeffrey Donaldson. He has not stood up in defence of the Agreement, instead he has proposed an approach that is in clear breach of the Good Friday Agreement.
``David Trimble has been encouraged in his approach by the British government.
``He has been encouraged in his endeavours to have the Agreement and its requirement for change filtered through a unionist prism. Three examples of this suffice to make the case:
- The suspension legislation enacted by the British government is no part of the Good Friday Agreement. It was put in place at the behest of the UUP. It is their tactical sanctuary from their responsibility to effect change.
- The triggering of suspension by Peter Mandelson in February in a crude act of disinformation, manipulation and cynicism created the deepest crisis in the Agreement to date.
- The British government's chicinary on this matter, on the Patten recommendations and on the issue of the flying of the Union flag over government buildings have convinced the UUP that they can hollow out the Agreement with impunity.
``The combined effect of the British government's approach to the implementation of the Agreement and the UUPs tactical engagement are leading to a timetable for disaster.
``Sinn Fein's right to representation on institutions and the executive derives from our significant electoral mandate. It is not for David Trimble or any other Unionist leader to set limits on the rights and entitlements of nationalists and republicans. There can be no unionist veto
``The British government has to take up the challenge of the Good Friday Agreement. It is for them, and for the Irish government, as joint sponsors of the Agreement to defend its integrity and uphold the rights of the electorate who voted for the Agreement.''
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