15th April 2003
Governments should seize this opportunity to advance the peace process
Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty MP and Ard Chomhairle member Joe Cahill today launched the party s Easter Lily Campaign and announced details of more than 40 events and commemorations taking place around the country this Easter weekend. Speaking at a press conference in Belfast Mr. Doherty said: The two governments should publish their Joint Declaration and seize this opportunity to advance the peace process and see the Agreement implemented.
Mr. Doherty said:
`` This year marks the 87th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. It is an important time for Irish republicans. It is a time for remembering our friends and colleagues who have given their lives in pursuit of our republican ideals and goals. It is a time for reflecting on these ideals.
`` We recall the words of the 1916 Proclamation - an historic document - one of the most progressive documents ever written. The Proclamation spells out the demand for social and economic justice and democracy, of cherishing all the children of the nation equally, irrespective of colour, religion, gender, ability or race, equally.
`` Easter is also a time of renewal - a time when we as Irish republicans rededicate ourselves to the legitimate and achievable goals of independence and unity for the people of this island.
`` The past year has undoubtedly been both a challenging and indeed very difficult, year for republicans and the peace process. We made a massive breakthrough in the elections in the 26 counties yet ended the last year with the fourth suspension of the political institutions by the British government at the behest of unionism,
`` The efforts made by the Sinn Fein leadership in recent days and weeks to secure the full implementation of the Agreement and the positive response of the IRA to those efforts should now be built upon by the two governments and all of us in political leadership. The two governments should publish their Joint Declaration and seize this opportunity to advance the peace process and see the Agreement implemented.
`` There are over 40 major commemorations throughout the island and scores more smaller events. Internationally many Irish exiles will also take part in commemorations.
I am calling on people to wear an Easter Lily and to make this years Easter Commemorations and events bigger and better than ever before. ENDS
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