[Sinn Fein]

29th June 2002

Gerry Adams to meet with Bertie Ahern in Dublin on Monday

Sinn Fein TD for Cavan Monaghan Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin speaking at a meeting of the party's Ard Chomhairle announced that a party delegation led by party President Gerry Adams would be meeting with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin on Monday 1st July. Deputy Ó Caoláin said that there is a need for a rigorous review of progress made thus far in implementing the Good Friday Agreement

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"Over the past number of months there has been a serious escalation in loyalist orchestrated sectarian attacks across Belfast with a real and palpable sense of fear and intimidation in communities such as the Short Strand.

"The Good Friday Agreement guarantees everybody the right to live free from sectarian harassment but in the current climate of fear and intimidation, these are just meaningless words.

"It is also patently clear that there is a major battle taking place within the political leadership of unionism which is putting pressure on the process.

"There is a need for a rigorous review of progress made thus far in implementing the Good Friday Agreement and this has to include the two governments record of delivering on their obligations. The British Government in particular has a case to answer in relation to its failure to deliver a new policing service and on crucial issues such as demilitarisation, equality agenda, bill of rights. This must be the focus of all of the efforts of all of the pro agreement parties and the two governments in the coming period."

The Ard Chomhairle also re-iterated their call for a full public judicial independent inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. The implications for resolving the policing issue and all that is involved in this cannot be overstated."

Speaking in relation to the Treaty of Nice and the new wording on common defence.

"The people are being asked to vote on the same Treaty that they rejected last year. Neither the wording proposed to be inserted in the Constitution nor the Declarations adopted at Seville can alter one syllable in the Treaty of Nice.

"The proposed new clause is not the same as putting neutrality into the constitution. The new wording is based on the Government's definition of neutrality as non-participation in a military alliance for 'mutual defence'. We in Sinn Fein have a wider definition of neutrality - it includes foreignn policy. Nice continues the development of common foreign policy.

"However, our opposition to Nice is not solely based on the neutrality issue. Under Nice a two-tier EU is created, dominated by the larger states. This goes against the whole idea of the EU being a partnership of equal states.

"There is a fundamental issue of democracy at stake here. The government has defied the decision of the Irish people in the last referendum and has encouraged the other states to ratify it on the basis that the Irish would 'get it right' the second time around."

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