[Sinn Fein]

6th December 2002

Adams meeting Bertie Ahern in Dublin today

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP MLA will be travelling to Washington on Monday for three days of political briefings with senior politicians and the Administration.

Among the Congress members and Senators Mr. Adams will meet are Jim Walsh, Peter King, Richard Neal and Senator Ted Kennedy. Mr. Adams will also meet President Bush's special ambassador on Ireland Richard Haass.

Mr. Adams is in Dublin today for a series of engagements including a meeting of the Special Olympics, of which he is a patron, a meeting with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Irish Language body Foras na Gaeilge.

Speaking in Dublin Mr. Adams said:

``My meetings in Washington will allow me to update senior political figures on Capital Hill about the crisis in the process, the many issues involved and what is required to resolve it.

``Primarily, our focus will be on the imperative of reinstating the institutions, which the British government should never have suspended.''

The Sinn Fein President also spoke about his meeting later today with the Taoiseach. Mr. Adams said:

``There has yet to be any substantial progress in the discussions around the current crisis. The big picture difficulties around the suspension of the political institutions, policing and demilitarisation, has also been exacerbated by the failure of the British government to move on a range of other issues.

``There is a clear onus on the Irish government as a co-equal partner to the Good Friday Agreement to keep the British government focussed on its obligations. But there is also a responsibility on the Irish government around some matters which are its responsibility. These include the decision to cut finding of the North South Irish language body Foras na Gaeilge. The 11% cut is effectively a reneging of commitments made by the Irish government in the Good Friday Agreement. The NIO who have shown no regard for the Irish language have effectively been given an excuse to cut back on their funding as well.

``This particular matter is an example of issues which come under the broad umbrella of the equality agenda. There are other issues which are outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. For example, the issue of northern representation in Southern Institutions, which are the subject of recommendations of the all-party Oireachtas committee on Constitutional Reform, as well as making available access to Irish passport facilities for Irish citizens in the north.

``Some of these issues are being categorised as a Sinn Fein wish list. They are not. But the failure to make progress or the retreat for example on the issue of the Irish language, is making a difficult situation worse.''

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