31 December 2016
Meeting the challenge of 2017 – Gerry Adams’s New Year message
‘The position of the Stormont Speaker is now untenable. The DUP’s actions are not acceptable and this issue is not going away’
THE DUP’s actions at Stormont have seriously damaged the credibility of politics in the North and are not acceptable, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has said in a New Year message, adding that the so-called “new politics” of Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil only benefit their narrow interests.
“In the North, the behaviour of the DUP has seriously damaged the credibility of the Assembly, Executive and the office of the First and deputy First Minister,” he said.
“The position of the Speaker is now untenable. The DUP’s actions are not acceptable and this issue is not going away.
“I hope that First Minister Arlene Foster is using this time to reflect on the crisis and that she will facilitate the sort of robust and thorough investigation that is required to deal with this scandal.”
In the South, the partnership government between the two conservative parties of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil has blocked positive action on water charges, rent certainty, homelessness, voting rights for the Diaspora and citizens in the North, and other important issues, the leader of Sinn Féin in the Dáil said.
He said that people in 2016 had “celebrated with pride the sacrifice of those who struck for Irish freedom a century ago” but, he added:
“However, Ireland today is a pale reflection of what was envisaged by the men and women of 1916 and of the vision of the Proclamation.
“The Republic proclaimed in 1916 would never tolerate the partition of our island, the mass emigration, and poverty.
“Nor would it accept the homelessness which those artists and activists in Apollo House are challenging.
“By their actions they have triggered a conversation about the right of citizens to a home. I applaud them.”
He said that while many of us will have spent Christmas with our families and loved ones, including many working overseas, there are around 50,000 in the USA who, because their status is undocumented they have been unable to travel.
“Theirs was the empty space at the Christmas table. We think of them.”
The Sinn Féin leader said it is also appropriate that we remember the tens of millions of men, women and children who are refugees from their homes, “and especially those fleeing war and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East”.
As well as these significant challenges there is also Brexit, Gerry Adams said.
“Sinn Féin is committed to securing designated special status for the North within the EU architecture – an Irish solution to a British problem.”
On behalf of Sinn Féin he extended “our solidarity to the families of all of those who lost loved ones as a consequence of the conflict”.
He ended by thanking everyone who had supported Sinn Féin’s efforts to make progress “and extend to you our warmest greetings and solidarity, and best wishes for the New Year ahead.
“Ar son Sinn Féin, go raibh míle maith agaibh d'achan duine a thug tacaíocht dár n-iarrachtaí. Aathbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh.”
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An initiative for dialogue
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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures