[Sinn Fein]

17th October 2002


Responding to this afternoon's speech by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said:

``It was a lengthly and considered speech by Mr. Blair, which deserves a considered response. This afternoon Mr. Blair set out his stall. We did that ourselves this morning and our position is based entirely on the assertion by the two governments that they are going to implementy the Good Friday Agreement. Mr.Blair had an opportunity this afternoon to tell us how he was going to do this - but he didn't. That was disappointing.

``It is of course important in this initial response to state the obvious. Sinn Fein's record in the peace process is solid and irrefutable. Mr. Blair acknowledges that. But our involvement in the institutions is based entirely on our electoral mandate. This process as much as anything else is about showing that politics works. Respect for all democratic mandates is key to that. It was this British government which suspended the institutions, that was a mistake.

``Secondly, I welcome Mr. Blairs frank admission about the second class status of nationalists. It is equally important that he accepts that there can be no preconditions on the achievement of rights and entitlements denied. This admission is an explicit acknowledgement of the undemocratic nature of British rule. The Agreement is a historic compromise to address and resolve the consequences of this.

``The British Prime Minister speaks of acts of completion. He needs to go beyond the rhetoric. He admits that his government has yet to complete its obligations. We have said repeatedely and we say again - the Agreement must be implemented in full. There is no alternative. The governments have taken the responsibility for all of that onto themselves. They now need to tell us what they are going to do and when they are going to do it. They need to give us their plan for implementation.''

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