[Sinn Fein]

1st May 2003

``Governments should stop shielding Trimble'' - Ó Caoláin

Sinn Fein Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said it is time for the Irish and British governments to ``stop shielding David Trimble from the consequences of his own actions''. He called for the Assembly elections to go ahead and for the Joint Declaration of the two governments to be published. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The unprecedented initiative by the IRA has created a golden opportunity for forward movement. In his statements last Sunday and again on Wednesday, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has made crystal clear the commitment of Irish republicans to this peace process and to ensuring that the Good Friday Agreement is implemented.

``I believe that Sinn Fein has now gone far more than the extra mile to break the impasse. Any objective reading of the Good Friday Agreement will show that we have long fulfilled all our obligations as a political party. There is anger among many republicans that, yet again, it is Sinn Fein that makes the extra effort and the difficult choices while the Ulster Unionist leadership continues to say `No' and is indulged in its obstructionism by the two governments.

``It is time the two governments stopped shielding David Trimble from the consequences of his own actions. I do not believe for a second that either the Irish or British governments have a real problem with the clarity of the IRA statement. I believe they are simply trying to unburden David Trimble and the Unionist Party of their political responsibility for the current impasse. The Irish government in particular should not continue in this manner. The question must be asked `Have they acted out of a desire to make Sinn Fein appear as the villains of the piece?' If so it would be for purely electoral reasons and should not be tolerated. The Irish government must act on behalf of the Irish people and demand the implementation of the Agreement and an end to unionist obstructionism.'' ENDS

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