[Sinn Fein]

25th April 1999

Taoiseach's Arbour Hill Speech
Sinn Fein Downing Street Negotiator Responds

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's Arbour Hill commemoration statement (Sunday) that arms decommissioning is the most destabilising factor in the peace process has been rejected by one of Sinn Fein's Downing Street talks negotiators.

``Unionist intransigence, the refusal of David Timble to implement the Good Friday Agreement and the consequent nationalist mistrust are the most destabilising factors,'' Sinn Fein's Seán Crowe said in Dublin.

Mr Crowe, the party's European Parliament candidate for Dublin, was a member of the republican talks team that met the Taoiseach and British Prime Minister Tony Blair during crisis talks in Downing Street a fortnight ago.

``Mr Trimble and the Ulster Unionist Party signed up to the same agreement as Sinn Fein - the difference is that we are honouring our obligations and the unionists are not.''

Mr Crowe said that Mr Trimble's continued refusal to meet his own constituents under Orange Order siege on the Garvaghy Road is symptomatic of the unionist mindset.

``The Ulster Unionists are stuck in a 1969 time warp - thinking they are in charge in the big house and nationalists should tug their forelocks at every turn, speak when they're spoken to and take what they're given,'' Mr Crowe said. ``Well, it's 1999 and unionist political thinking has to wake up to that reality and embrace change.''

The Dublin Sinn Fein leader added:

``People cannot allow opponents of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process to destroy the potential they have to advance the cause of peace, justice and equality.

``The way out of this unionist engineered impasse is for the Taoiseach and Tony Blair to push ahead with the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement without any more delay.''


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