[Sinn Fein]

3rd October 2002

Gerry Adams holds meeting with David Trimble

Commenting on his meeting this morning with David Trimble, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP said:

``I told Mr. Trimble that there is a widespread view within nationalism and republicanism that he is making a mess of the political process. The process requires all parties involved in it to fulfil our responsibilities in a collective way. I know some of the unionists have concerns about the way they feel republicans are dealing with the process in much the same way as republicans and nationalists have doubts about unionist commitments to the Good Friday Agreement. The next period could see a descent into an electorally driven blame game in advance of a unionist collapse of the institutions.

``The issue for unionists and the rest of us, and this will be an issue for whoever leads unionism, is that changes which the Good Friday Agreement involves will have to become a reality. They are not for renegotiation.

``The UUP policy is now anti-Agreement. Those who succeeded at the last UUC in bringing about a policy shift may have problems with Sinn Fein, or the IRA, or the SDLP or the two governments but the underlying problem for them is that they are against equality and the range of measures required to bring this about. Those within the UUP who claim to be pro-Agreement, and I have no doubt that there are many unionists, despite the lack of consistent leadership, who do support the Agreement should have fought their corner. How can the UUP attract pro-Agreement unionist voters if the party is anti-Agreement? Who do pro-Agreement unionists vote for?

``Each party to the Agreement has problems and challenges with the process of implementing the Agreement. These could have been dealt with by political engagement and collective actions by the parties to the process.

``Less tactical manoeuvring and more strategic implementation by the Secretary of State would have helped. But no matter what the problems for all of us there have been huge improvements for most people as a result of the process. I am also mindful of course that in this period people have suffered. This is unacceptable and intolerable. But creating a vacuum which is the clear consequence of the UUP policy objectives will make the situation worse, not better.

``The challenge for the two governments continues, with more urgency now since the last UUC meeting, to be the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. They have to minimise the effects of the UUP, and presumably the DUP withdrawal from the institutions. The inclination from Dr. Reid may be to play this process as slowly as he can. He may continue to be mesmerised by the need to keep Mr. Trimble in a leadership position. That is a matter for him. But he cannot use or abuse people's rights or entitlements as part of this. He cannot continue to pander to unionism's inability to deliver on its commitments or to use this as an excuse for his government not fulfilling its responsibilities. There is a big onus on the Irish government in respect of this. They have a joint and co-equal responsibility with the British government, for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Notwithstanding the domestic and internal problems which face that government at this time the Good Friday Agreement requires urgent and committed political focus from Dublin as well as London.

``The next phase of this process could be a frustrating and challenging one for those of us who want to see a transformation of society here and a better future for everyone. As I told Mr. Trimble this morning this was never going to be an easy process for anyone involved. All of us need to get real about that.''

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