17 July 1996
SINN FÉIN MEET WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND OPPOSITION FRONT BENCH
Commenting on the meeting today with officials from the Irish government Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams said:
``It is a measure of the seriousness of the situation that we are actually doing a meeting at this level with the Irish government. It is a difficult position for everyone, but governments must show leadership. It is inconsistent to point up the inequality of treatment of nationalists, and then to disenfranchise a very large section of the people, who vote Sinn Fein. It is a basic flaw in the position of the Taoiseach at this time.''
After leading a party delegation in a meeting with the opposition Fianna Fáil front bench, led by Bertie Ahern, Mr Adams said:
``It is the responsibility of everyone in political leadership to understand the mood within this island, which is for real dialogue on the basis of respect and equality.
``The British government stands indicted as do the leaders of unionism for what happened last week. It is impossible to express the sense of frustration there is with those in high places who think or pretend that its business as usual.
``There needs to be a root and branch review of the events of last week and of the last few years. There needs to be, for nationalists on the ground, practical changes in their own situation. That means no more coat trailing marches and it means equality of treatment. Unfortunately there is no agenda for equality on John Majors desk at this time.
``There is also an onus on the Irish government on all of these matters. I think it's a matter of learning from the lessons of the last week and then moving the situation forward as best we can.''
After the meeting with Irish government officials, Ard Chomhairle member and recently elected delegate to the talks Dodie McGuinness said:
``We came here today as Sinn Fein representatives to represent the communities we come from. We discussed the situation that developed and how we would try to resolve any other ongoing situations. We had a frank and open discussion and we expressed the views of our community - the anger and the frustration. We also expressed in many ways the views of the young people within our communities who have been injured, two of whom are still very critically ill in hospital, and the activities of the RUC throughout those three or four days.''
Sinn Fein Vice President, Pat Doherty said:
``We will have further meetings with officials. This meeting today was very useful and constructive and we have plans to keep in dialogue with them. Obviously we will uphold at all times not only our electoral mandates but the rights of the people who voted for us. We have put our case very strongly in that regard.''
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