[Sinn Fein]

14th October 2002

Suspension of institutions is ``temporary success for anti-Agreement unionists''

The suspension of the institutions represents a ``temporary success'' for anti-Agreement unionists, according to Sinn Fein Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``This is a very bad day for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement. The suspension of the institutions by the British government represents a temporary success for the anti-Agreement unionists ? but only a temporary success. Their strategy to block political change can only be short-term. They know that this process will have to be revived, and the Good Friday Agreement implemented.

``The current crisis dates from the Ulster Unionist Council meeting of 21 September when the anti-Agreement forces in that party finally succeeded in having their programme adopted. That programme seeks the rolling back of changes, which have taken place, the exclusion of Sinn Fein and the renegotiation of the Agreement.

``We in Sinn Fein are totally committed to ensuring the full implementation of the Agreement which was supported in referenda by the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. It must not be forgotten that the people of the 26 Counties made very significant changes to the Constitution on the basis that the Agreement provided for an inclusive Executive, an all-Ireland Ministerial Council and all-Ireland Implementation Bodies. There is an obligation on the Irish Government, therefore, to help ensure that these institutions are re-established at the earliest opportunity.

``Sinn Fein is fully aware of our obligations under the Agreement which we have fulfilled throughout this process. All parties and both governments must work to achieve complete demilitarisation and the ending of all armed groups. Both governments, in particular, must ensure that a political vacuum is not created.''

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