26 October 2006 Edition

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Important meeting with Church of Ireland leader

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams led a party delegation, including Caitríona Ruane MLA, Mary Lou McDonald MEP, Conor Murphy MP, Alex Maskey MLA and the head of the party's unionist outreach project Martina Anderson, at talks with the head of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop Robin Eames, and a senior Church delegation on Monday, 23 October.

It was the first public meeting between the Sinn Féin leadership and the Church of Ireland.

Gerry Adams said that the meeting was an important and significant part of Sinn Féin's overall strategy of engagement with the Protestant churches. He added that the churches have an important role to play in shaping a new shared future for all the people who live in Ireland, and said he hoped that the meeting would mark the beginning of a dialogue between Sinn Féin and the Church of Ireland in the time ahead.

The Sinn Féin delegation briefed Archbishop Eames on recent developments in the political process, and outlined what the party felt was necessary to restore the suspended political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

Gerry Adams said that the Sinn Féin delegation had also discussed with the church representatives "one of the big blights of our society" sectarianism. He stressed that Sinn Fein was not a Catholic party. "We are not about a Catholic Ireland. We are about an Ireland for all the people that live on this island."

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