[Sinn Fein]

6 July 1997

Blair government fails first test miserably

Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness has said the Blair government has failed its first test miserably.

Mr. McGuinness said:

``I am disgusted and the nationalist community is seething with anger at the imposition of virtual martial law and the brutal fashion in which it was enforced by the RUC and British Army against the innocent people of the Garvaghy Road. Mo Mowlam has learned her predecessors lesson of bad faith negotiations well and quickly. She promised publicly that she would deliver her decision personally to the Garvaghy residents. This she failed to do. Instead she followed the pattern of previous years and capitulated to threats from David Trimble and the Orange Order.

``Where is the parity of esteem this new British government promised to the nationalist community? Who is really in control here? Is it the British government or is it the Ulster Unionist Party in bowler hats?

``Once more a British government has shown the world that nationalists in this state are treated as and considered second class citizens. Ronnie Flanaganís admission that he made his decision based on information that Loyalist paramilitaries would kill Catholics is a stark admission of surrender and shows that the RUC cannot function impartially. He should resign and the RUC should be disbanded.''

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