[Sinn Fein]

28 May 1998

McGuinness meets Mowlam

Mid-Ulster MP Martin McGuinness headed a delegation to Stormont today to discuss the implementation of the equality issues contained in the `Good Friday' document. The delegation included North Belfast Representative, Gerry Kelly and West Belfast Assembly Candidate, Bairbre De Brun.

Mr. McGuinness said:

``In a wide ranging discussion we covered those aspects of the Good Friday document which are crucial to the wider Nationalist/Republican commullity.

``We pointed out that we would not allow decommissioning to be used to frustrate movement on other issues which need immediate implementation. I told Dr. Mowlam that the community which we represent was concerned that while the British government seemed intent on elevating those aspects of the document of most interest to it and the Unionist community, there didn't seem to be any sense of urgency in addressing the issues of equality which most affect the nationalist community.

``One of the main issues discussed was the marching season and in particular the controversy surrounding the forthcoming `Tour of the North' march in North Belfast. Other areas of importance covered included the delay in announcing the make-up of the proposed Commission on policing, issues of justice, prisoners, demilitarisation, continuing harassment, cultural rights and human rights.

``We impressed on her that we would not tolerate those issues which are of vital importance to our community being treated with less importance than any other issue.''

Commenting on David Trimble's disclosure of a telephone exchange between himself and President Clinton, Mr McGuinness said:

``Rather than expend energy on attempting to resurrect a dead end issue which is only intended to inhibit progress towards an equal society, Mr. Trimble should be concentrating on building relationships with the rest of us who are doing our utmost to reach an accommodation which will bring an end to conflict for ever.

``The people voted last Friday for politicians to find ways forward and not to be re-erecting old obstacles. It is time for Mr. Trimble to deliver on the message his electorate gave him.''

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