28 June 1998
Delivering change must now be the priority - McGuinness
Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member Martin Mc Guinness MP who was one Sinn Fein's 18 successful candidates in the Assembly election, speaking in London this morning has called on the two governments, but particularly the British government, to "ensure the urgent and speedy implementation of all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement."
Mr McGuinness said:
"The referendum and the Assembly results confirm that the vast majority of people in Ireland want change, want a peace settlement, and want the two governments and politicians to deliver on the promise of the Good Friday Agreement.
"The DUP, the UKUP and some independent unionists elected to the Assembly are determined to thwart the spirit and the letter of the agreement. This is regrettable. Of greater concern however is the fact that David Trimble, leader of the UUP, has also indicated his intention to delay progress on putting in place the institutional structures agreed on Good Friday and implementing much of the agreement itself. This is not good enough.
"The 'no' politicians and the 'maybe' politicians of unionism cannot be allowed to subvert the opportunity to advance the goal of a permanent peace settlement.
"There is a heavy onus on Mr Blair to ensure that the agreement should not be undermined either by unionists or by British government concessions to unionism. The key words now must be 'delivery' and 'equality.'
"People want to see delivery on the institutions; delivery on the Executive, and on the all Ireland Ministerial Council and bodies; delivery on the equality agenda delivery on the release of prisoners; delivery on demilitarisation; delivery on the promised constitutional change; delivery on equality for the Irish language; delivery on a new policing service, and delivery on the other elements of the Good Friday agreement. And all of this on the basis of equality. There are no more second class citizens.
"The Good Friday Agreement clearly indicates that the shadow executive and the all Ireland Council will come into being in the transitional period, and early enough for the completion of a work programme by October 31st. It is our intention to pursue this.
"It is our intention to play a full and constructive part in advancing the Good Friday Agreement.
"The election results confirm that the UUP, the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the DUP will hold positions in the Executive. Sinn Fein will have two places.
"The Assembly election was a very good election for Sinn Fein. We achieved a record result, winning more seats and taking more votes than ever before. We are now the largest party in Belfast, and in the nationalist constituencies in Counties Fermangh, Tyrone and Derry, Sinn Fein is the largest nationalist party.
"We look forward to working with the other parties in a new partnership. In particular, we are asking David Trimble to work with Sinn Fein in putting the past behind us. It's time he talked to Gerry Adams. Its time there was meaningful dialogue between our parties.
"Let us look to the future and seek to build a new Ireland in which David Trimble's children and my children never again have to face inequality, injustice or conflict."
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