[Sinn Fein]

8th December 1998

Impasse must be resolved prior to Christmas

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness this afternoon led a party delegation, which included Assembly member Bairbre de Brun and Councillor Joe Reilly, to meet with An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and representatives of the Dublin government.

Mr. McGuinness said:

``We had a very serious meeting today which dealt with the impasse in the peace process due to the failure of David Trimble to implement the Good Friday agreement. It is clear that there has been a unionist veto applied to this entire process and we saw this veto coming into play again last week when the Unionists effectively reneged on an agreement that they had made the night before. This is a source of great concern to all of those people who voted for the Good Friday Agreement.

``There is a concern that there is a very determined attempt being made by unionists to dilute the substance of the all Ireland bodies which must be established if this agreement is to mean anything. The Unionists are attempting to target the department of Equality and the setting up of an all Ireland implementation body on the Irish language.

``There is a responsibility on the two governments to defend the agreement and to ensure its fullest implementation. They must become refocused on the need to resolve the difficulties prior to Christmas. The agreement as supported by the people in referendum must be implemented as a matter of urgency.''

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