[Sinn Fein]

31 July 1998

Sinn Fein Will Make All-Ireland Council Relevant

Sinn Fein Vice President and Assembly member Pat Doherty has said that his party had opted for a Yes vote in the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement because ``the document had the potential to bring about real and positive change for all the people of Ireland. The Agreement he continued ``is not a panacea for all our difficulties, but it does have the very real potential to bring about positive change.'' The Assembly member for West Tyrone also pledged that Sinn Fein would make the all-Ireland Council increasingly relevant to every man, woman and child on this island.

Mr Doherty said:

``This potential for lasting peace must not be squandered or let slip because of the lack of courage or leadership. Dialogue and discussion can move us all from the failures of the past. This unique opportunity must be built upon and the causes of conflict addressed.

``Agreement requires consent, freely given, of nationalists and unionists alike. Constitutional change, the implementation of the equality agenda, cultural rights, policing, demilitarisation, prisoners - all these issues need to be resolved. There is nothing complicated or unreasonable about these goals or their achievement. These changes are inevitable if we are move away from conflict to conflict resolution.

``These objectives will not be achieved without leadership from nationalists, unionists and the two Governments. It is our collective task to provide that leadership. Supplying leadership and bringing about positive change is surely the role and responsibility of all of the parties who advocated support for the Good Friday Agreement.

``Nationalists throughout this island can be certain that Sinn Fein will not shirk from our responsibility in this process nor will we allow anyone to undermine the significant electoral mandate which we received in the recent election .

``Sinn Fein is entitled to its positions on the Executive and will take our seats accordingly. We are looking forward to taking our place on the all-Ireland Ministerial Council and implementation bodies, making them more and more relevant to every man, woman and child on this island. That is the task that we set ourselves and are determined to carry out.''

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