[Sinn Fein]

5 November 1996

Taoiseach's comments `ill-judged and unhelpful'

Sinn Fein Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin has described the Taoiseach's comments today as ``ill-judged and unhelpful at this critical time''.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``The Taoiseach's comments today, suggesting that what is required is a change in republican thinking, is deeply offensive to those who are working to create a credible and viable process against a background of British bad faith.

``Mr. Bruton is well aware that Sinn Fein played a central role, with the SDLP leader John Hume and the former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, in constructing the peace process. Sinn Fein has fulfilled every commitment we made in the search for a lasting peace settlement. John Bruton knows this. He also knows that the failure of the British government to act on their commitments is the central problem and the cause of the collapse of the peace process.

``Clearly, what is required is a change of thinking and approach on the part of the British government. It is Mr. Bruton's responsibility to encourage that rather than patronise republicans.

``He should know by now that his ill-advised comments are invariably used by the British to their own narrow political ends. Mr. Bruton needs to take a leadership role in building a credible peace process rather than engaging in such unhelpful commentary from the side-lines''

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