[Sinn Fein]

2nd December 1999

Sinn Fein Welcomes Scrapping of Government of Ireland Act

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking this morning at the Assembly Building at Stormont said:

``For me the most significant constitutional change is the scrapping of the British Government of Ireland Act which partitioned Ireland. I take particular satisfaction from this because it was Sinn Fein that raised this matter directly with the British Prime Minister and secured the British government's commitment to its deletion.

``Clearly we are a society moving out of conflict, a conflict born of the British government's involvement in Ireland. This status quo has changed and will continue to change.

``The new constitutional arrangements point up the failure of Partition.

``The British government has now recognised that this is a disputed territory.

``The changes to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, while difficult for Republicans, the aspiration they contained has been replaced by new Articles and by practical working institutions, an all-Ireland Ministerial Council policy and implementation bodies, and areas of harmonisation and co-operation.

``The time ahead presents all of us with unparalleled challenges and opportunities.

``To succeed this new partnership government in which nationalists and unionists each hold 50% of the power - a partnership of equals - must overcome the many difficulties that still lie ahead.

``We need to deliver on the promise of social, economic, political and cultural change, across this island, which the Good Friday Agreement contains.

``With the formal first meeting of the Executive later today, and the setting up of the all-Ireland Ministerial Council, the all-Ireland policy and implementation bodies and the areas of co-operation, we now have for the first time since partition an all-Ireland wide political dispensation.

``This is the significance of all today's constitutional change.''

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