[Sinn Fein]

18 December 1998


Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking today after the early morning agreement on departments and all Ireland policy and implementation bodies said:

``Last night we saw welcome and long overdue progress on the number and remit of departments, the all-Ireland implementation bodies and matters for consideration.

``The establishment of 10 departments is a critical threshold for nationalists as is the creation of 6 all-Ireland bodies, including Irish language, EU programmes and Trade and Business development. There was also agreement on 6 areas for co-operation, including an all-Ireland structure to promote tourism. These are positive elements of last night's developments, and of course the fact that there was progress at all is a positive thing in itself.''

Responding to questions from journalists Mr. Adams said:

``It is our strongly held view that there could have been more progress made, for example, we could and should have had a Department of Equality.

``Regrettably the UUP and the SDLP agreed to prevent one from coming into effect. Our focus now needs to be on the speedy and full implementation of the Good Friday agreement. That means moving urgently to the establishment of the Executive and the all-Ireland Ministerial Council to activate the agreement reached this morning.

``This will require the same measure of attention and concentration from the two governments which helped secure this progress.''

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