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16 January 2018

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Sinn Féin in government won't be more of the same - John Finucane

John Finucane

"Sinn Féin in government won’t be more of the same. We will only enter an administration in order to deliver a progressive republican programme for government." - John Finucane

Today I read the Irish Times editorial of 16/1/18 which called for a more conciliatory approach from Sinn Féin in order to fulfil the ‘ambition to become a normal party of government in the Republic’.

Please be assured that, having witnessed the economic and social havoc overseen by successive so-called normal parties of government in Dublin, Sinn Féin has absolutely no intention of joining that club.

Sinn Féin in government won’t be more of the same. We will only enter an administration in order to deliver a progressive republican programme for government.

We are intent on building a united Ireland and republic based on social justice and equality. There will be no toleration for Golden Circles or any lack on integrity in public office.

Even leaving aside the insulting inference to the half a million Sinn Féin voters across the island that our party is somehow sub-normal, our established record in government north of the border is overlooked by the Irish Times.

Stormont collapsed because we were not prepared to overlook allegations of corruption associated with the DUP.

It collapsed because we were not prepared to accept the failure of the DUP to implement the Good Friday Agreement which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the people of Ireland.

It collapsed because we would not acquiesce to the DUP’s ongoing denial of rights which are taken for granted in the rest of the island. Rights such as equal marriage, Irish language rights and the right to a coroner’s inquest.

The Irish Times advocates a more conciliatory approach but it fails to point out which of these rights should be compromised on. Which democratic agreement should be set aside? Why any group of citizens should be regarded as sub-normal?

The Irish Times is correct that the Barry McElduff controversy caused great pain and hurt to victims.

Sinn Féin accepted that and apologised. Barry McElduff accepted that and resigned.

But I work with many victims and what they want now is not more of the same. They want previous compromises to deal with the legacy of our past to be implemented. They do not want to be used to score cheap political points, they simply want what they would expect to receive in any other society, which is truth and justice, and they want this for everyone. I stand by this professionally, and everyone should not hesitate to stand by this politically.

They want implementation of previous commitments on rights and they have our full support in that, because it is only once we ensure that legacy mechanisms are credible and capable of addressing the needs of everyone, can we then be serious as a society about reconciliation. One cannot exist without the other.

The agreements we made ended the conflict in the North. They provided a better, peaceful way forward to a united Ireland.

They should not be set aside in order to placate the DUP. They should be defended and they should be fully implemented.

And it would be much more helpful to the peace and political process if the Irish Times adopted the same position that the vast majority of the Irish people did almost 20 years ago when they voted for the Good Friday Agreement. 

What could be more normal than that?

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Uncomfortable Conversations 

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An initiative for dialogue 

for reconciliation 

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Contributions from key figures in the churches, academia and wider civic society as well as senior republican figures


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