[Sinn Fein]

10 June 1998

Sinn Fein to play active part in new institutions

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP, speaking at the Annual General Meeting of Sinn Fein in the six counties in the Hibernia Club in Newry, said Sinn Fein would play a full and active part in the Assembly, the Executive and the all-Ireland Ministerial council.

Mr Adams said:

``Every election is important but probably none more so than the one facing us on June 25th.

``Sinn Fein brings our commitment and record for creating real change in Ireland into this election. That is where I believe the people in the six counties are at and that is what the people of Ireland voted for in their tens of thousands a few weeks ago.

``So my address to you tonight is on the question of change. We have been central to the changes that have taken place in Irish politics in recent years. Indeed without Sinn Fein we would not be in the position we are in today. There would not have been a peace process. There would not be the possibility of a real peace settlement. There would not be a Good Friday Agreement.

``Sinn Fein was and remains the cayalyst for change. There have been many agreements before this one and they all failed because they lacked the republican hand in shaping them.

``That is what made the difference this time round and that is why, despite the many unresolved issues, this agreement, has the best chance of working and taking us out of conflict.

``We are committed to working every aspect of the agreement. We are looking forward to playing a full and active part in the Assembly, the Executive and the all-Ireland Ministerial council. We are looking forward to taking our seats in all of these bodies. We intend bringing the republican analysis into the heart of institutional politics across this island.

``I believe these institutions can be the power-houses, which will shape a new political future for all the people of this island. Sinn Fein will be at the centre of power and we will play a meaningful role on these bodies. We will play the same pivotal role that we played in the negotiations.

``This phase of the process of transition is about taking the people of Ireland out of a century which has been dominated by conflict into a new century, a new millenium, where dialogue is the key instrument for change.

``We are seeking a partnership based on equality and justice for all the people of this island. We seek that with the unionist people. Indeed that is, in this the 200th anniversary of the United Irish Movement, which many Presbyterians are commemorating quietly but significantly, the greatest challenge facing nationalists and republicans.

``But now is the time to build on the progress to date, to follow through to look to the future. The people particularly in the six counties and particularly the nationalist people want to see in their day to day lives the changes that will mean an end to injustice, whether it is political, economic, social or cultural. We will strive to fulfil their needs.

``We now face the challenge of delivering on that change and turning hope into reality. That reality means a new police service, equality in every sphere of life, including the Irish language, the release of all political prisoners, the dismantling of all military installations and the creation of new and dynamic relationships between the people of this island.''

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