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29 March 2007 Edition

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A new era beckons

There are few people on this island who could have been unmoved by the dramatic scenes on Monday of the leaders of Sinn Féin and the DUP, having reached an agreement, sitting together at Stormont.
The agreement on the establishment of an inclusive, power-sharing Executive and restoration of the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement is a hugely important and a welcome development.
While it would have been preferable for the Executive to have been put in place on Monday as scheduled, the agreement by the DUP to enter Government with Sinn Féin is a major step forward.
The basis of the agreement follows Ian Paisley’s unequivocal and welcome commitment to support and participate fully in the political institutions on 8 May.
The statements by both party leaders were truly historic and contain the potential to open up a new era in the politics of the entire country.
Every effort must now be made to ensure that the Executive and all the relevant political institutions, including the All-Ireland Ministerial Council, get up and running.
There is a special obligation on the Irish and British governments to ensure that the Executive is fully supported and that it has the resources to do its job.
Sinn Féin welcomes the fact that bills for water charges have not now been sent to householders across the North as was threatened. The party remains fully committed to stopping the implementation of this totally unfair form of double taxation.
In the time ahead Sinn Féin will also press the Irish Government to fulfill the potential of the latest political developments.
There must now be a meaningful and substantial peace dividend for the border counties, real all-Ireland development, including accelerated co-operation and integration in areas such as health, transport and communications.
Sinn Féin entered into the negotiations that led to Monday’s agreement in a strategic manner, bolstered by its newly strengthened electoral mandate.
In all of the political initiatives that we have taken in recent times, republicans have been guided by our objectives and by the need to deliver for all the people of Ireland. Sinn Féin listened carefully to the position put forward by the DUP as the leading political representatives of unionism.
Following many years, decades and centuries of violent conflict the relationships between the people of Ireland have been damaged.
Sinn Féin seeks to build new relationships between all the people on this island. Sinn Féin wants to build a peaceful and just future in which all of our people have a stake.
Many challenges and difficulties lie ahead. But a real beginning to the process of national reconciliation has now been made. Monday’s agreement shows the potential of what can now be achieved in Irish politics. A new political era beckons.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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