11 November 2004 Edition
DUP cannot be allowed paralyse the process
BY JOANNE CORCORAN
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will return today, Thursday 11 November, from a nine-day visit to the US, which saw him attend events in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. As well as taking part in Friends of Sinn Féin functions, he met with senior Congress members, Senators and Governors, and with Irish American organisations, to update them on the ongoing efforts in the Peace Process.
On Wednesday, he met with US Special Envoy to the Six Counties Mitchell Reiss and Senator Ted Kennedy.
Adams made it clear to both men that the largest obstacle to progress remaining in the North of Ireland is the demands of the DUP to fundamentally change the Good Friday Agreement and their refusal to share power with nationalists.
"The impasse at this time in the talks process is the DUP failure to accept the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement and to accept nationalists and republicans on the basis of equality. In particular, they have targeted the power-sharing and all-Ireland principles of the Agreement," he said while in Washington.
"The core issues were negotiated and agreed in the Good Friday Agreement. There will be no going back on these positions. That is the new political reality that the DUP has to come to terms with. The pro-Agreement majority cannot be expected to stand still while the DUP edge their way into the 21st Century. The DUP's refusal to engage and to accept the reality of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change."
Speaking to reporters during his trip, he said that the US continues to be "a vital component in securing the peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement", and that his meeting with Reiss provided an early opportunity in the wake of the Presidential election to "urge all those in the US and particularly within the Administration to continue to play this important role".
In each state he visited, Adams received huge receptions from Irish Americans. Speaking at a function in New York, he praised supporters for their work, but added that much more needed to be done and encouraged people to actively lobby the new administration to adopt a reinvigorated, renewed focus on peace in Ireland.
Adams also pointed out during the New York function that British Direct Rule in the Six Counties is not sustainable in the long run and demanded that "in the absence of a deal the two governments bring forward proposals rooted in the Agreement to see its full implementation".
McDonald in Canada
Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald, who was attending a Friends of Sinn Féin dinner in Toronto, Canada, echoed this sentiment.
Speaking to a large crowd, she said; "It is now over two years since the British Government suspended the political institutions and reintroduced Direct Rule from London. "Nationalists and republicans will not simply accept diktat from London and administration by the unionist dominated NIO. The days of unionist government in the Six Counties are over."