21 July 2001
Dublin government has responsibility to safeguard Agreement
Speaking today from Sinn Féin’s Ard Comhairle meeting in Dublin, party chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA said that ‘Bertie Ahern’s government has a responsibility to safeguard the Agreement’.
“After the Weston Park talks last week, Sinn Féin made it clear that the proposals being offered by the British and Dublin governments fell far short of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Earlier this week we spelt out how we would judge the two governments package. We also spelt out the current shortcomings on policing, justice, equality, human rights and freedom from sectarian harassment. By and large these matters are for the British government to implement.
“Our benchmark has been and remains the Agreement. This is clear and unambiguous on the issue of arms. The government’s package must therefore ensure the full implementation of the Agreement in all its aspects and in the terms agreed.
“Three years and three months after the Agreement many central elements have not yet been implemented. These include:
- The institutions have been functioning as agreed, and without UUP threat, for a period of only five months
- A new beginning to policing, in the terms agreed, has not be delivered
- The British government has no strategy for the demilitarisation of society
- The Equality Commission’s lack of powers almost reduces its status to that of an advice and monitoring unit
- The Human Rights Commission, established under the Agreement, has been denied the powers and resources to fulfil its remit
- A Bill of Rights has not been produced
- The legislation and implementation plan in respect of the justice system has not been produced
- The right to freedom from sectarian harassment is not being upheld
- The arms issue should be left to the IICD as proscribed in the Agreement
“In fact the only aspect of the Agreement which has been moving forward, actually beyond the terms of the Agreement, is that of arms. And yet Unionists and the British government remain fixated on IRA weapons. At the same time they are silent on loyalist and RUC weapons, which are being used to kill and in an attempt to kill nationalists.
“There is an onerous responsibility on the Irish government in all of this. They along with the British government will draft this package, and thus will share the responsibility for its content. They must ensure that it is in line with the Agreement and deals with all of the outstanding issues.” ENDS
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