16th June 2002
``Trimble must confront reactionary loyalism'' - Ó Caoláin
Delivering the oration at the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown, County Kildare, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD highlighted the wave of sectarian attacks in Belfast and throughout the Six Counties, including the loyalist siege of the Short Strand. He said republicans were opposed to sectarianism in all its forms and he urged First Minister David Trimble to confront the forces of reactionary loyalism. The Sinn Fein TD said:
``Mr. Trimble has attempted to blame republicans for recent disturbances but he knows very well that the latest sectarian onslaught has been initiated and orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries. In his failure to confront these forces and in his attempts to falsely blame republicans Mr. Trimble is highly irresponsible and his public attitude does nothing to dampen the flames of hatred and sectarianism.
``It is appropriate at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone, a member of the Church of Ireland, that I make it clear on behalf of republicans that we are totally opposed to all forms of sectarianism. Sectarian attacks of any kind, whether deemed retaliatory or not, are always wrong and we sympathise as much with innocent Protestants whose homes have been damaged as we do with innocent Catholics. Sectarianism must be rejected in all its manifestations.''
Commenting on the latest revelations on collusion the Sinn Fein Dáil leader said:
``From the bombing of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, through numerous murders of nationalists and republicans, including members of Sinn Fein, to the murders of Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, the pattern of widespread collusion was clear for all who cared to examine what was really happening in the North of our country. It seems that the imminent report of the Stevens Inquiry is about to acknowledge this institutionalised collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and British forces. Be prepared for another backlash from the securocrats and those with a vested interest in covering up the crimes of the British forces and their allies. ``A sustained effort is under way to prevent the truth being exposed and questions must be raised about the recent killings of a number of loyalists who were prime suspects or key witnesses in cases of collusion.
``Parallel with this effort to hide the truth about Britain's dirty war in Ireland are ongoing attempts to expel Sinn Fein from the political process. Unionists and Tories are returning to the old agenda by which they sought to prevent the peace talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. Let the message go out loud and clear. We in Sinn Fein have a democratic mandate and we will fulfil that mandate in the Assembly, in the Executive, in the All-Ireland Ministerial Council and in all the institutions established under the Agreement. There will be no return to the days of exclusion. Sinn Fein is here to stay and unionist leaders must come to terms with us now and in the future.''
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