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15 March 2007 Edition

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Huge mandate for political progress

The results of the Assembly elections in the Six Counties demonstrate clearly that a vast majority of people, right across the North want the political process to move forward.  Sinn Féin is ready and willing to form a government on 26 March.
The party has already begun its preparations for a return to power-sharing government. Sinn Féin’s approach is to work for the successful restoration of the Assembly, Executive and all-Ireland institutions.
The Democratic Unionist Party now has a crucial decision to make.  That party went into the Assembly election saying that it was ready for government. It got a huge endorsement from the unionist electorate for this position.
A functioning Executive and Assembly can be achieved in the timeframe demanded by the two governments at St. Andrews. All of the parties with the exception of the DUP stand ready to enter government now.
People are now waiting for Ian Paisley to commit himself and his party to sharing power with the rest of the political parties on the basis of equality. If he chooses to do this, issues like water charges, and health and education cuts can be tackled. This is what people voted for last week in overwhelming numbers.
Those people now want Ian Paisley to do the right thing. Sinn Féin is ready to work with the DUP and all other parties to deliver in the interests of all the people.
Securing a substantial peace dividend and using that money to abolish additional water charges is a priority for Sinn Féin in the run up to 26 March.
Such a dividend is essential to the future success of the executive. A portion of the additional British money should be used to abolish the additional water charges being driven through by the British Direct Rule Ministers.
Sinn Féin negotiators believe that they can make significant progress on this matter in the time ahead.
Meanwhile the British government once again demonstrated its capacity for bad faith when, in a clear breach of its commitment to publish an Irish Language Bill for the Six Counties this week, it introduced a second 12-week consultation period.
The British Government is playing politics with the Irish language.
The imposition of a second consultation period ignores widespread endorsement for an Irish Language Act.
Peter Hain has acted in bad faith on this issue and Sinn Féin has made its position clear to him.
All those concerned with the rights of Irish language speakers in the North must now work even harder until we get an Irish language Act.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

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  • This special edition which focuses on Irish Unity, features articles by Pearse Doherty, Dr Thomas Paul and Martina Anderson.
  • Pearse sets out the argument for an United Ireland Economy whilst Pat Sheehan makes the case for a universally free all-island health service.
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