[Sinn Fein]

5 January 1998

Mowlam must keep her nerve - McGuinness

Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness commenting on developments within unionist and loyalist circles since the adjournment of the talks prior to Christmas said:

``The events both within the unionist and loyalist political parties taking part in the talks and activities of those parties absenting themselves from the talks coupled with the actions of the murder gangs should not be viewed individually.

All of these groups although acting independently of each other have the same agenda -- to prevent any movement towards any accomodation which does not maintain the status quo. David Trimble's Ulster Unionists, assisted by the loyalist parties in the talks, are attempting to impose a unionist agenda by sabre rattling and threatening to withdraw from the talks if there is even a hint that their predetermined outcome of negotiations will not be met.

Ian Paisley and Bob McCartney are determined to achieve the same result by instilling an unfounded sense of fear of change in the unionist community. One of any move towards equality for nationalists is a defeat for unionists. A tactic used regularly and very successfully by Paisley to whip up sectarian hatred for over thirty years.

And finally we have the loyalist murder gangs whose historical response to any perception of change is to kill Catholics in order to intimidate the nationalist community and to bully the British government into curtailing any attempts at reaching an agreed accomodation.

Although this is a dangerous and testing time for all of us we will be impressing on the British Secretary of State when we meet that it is imperative that she keep her nerve and not be intimidated by this latest attempt at playing the Orange Card.

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