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3 December 2009 Edition

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Political agreements that are not implemented are worthless

THE political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement including the power-sharing administration in the North were re-established in 2007 on the basis of the St. Andrews Agreement. This Agreement was co-signed by the Irish and British Governments.
We are now three years on from those discussions, yet large parts of that Agreement remain unimplemented.
In addition to the transfer of Policing and Justice powers from Britain to the North of Ireland, other commitments relating to the equality agenda and the Irish Language are in default. This is not acceptable.
Political agreements that are not implemented are worthless. Likewise, as Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney pointed out this week, political institutions that do not have the principle of equality at their core are equally worthless.
The commitment of Irish republicans to this process is beyond doubt. We want to see the Good Friday Agreement institutions working and working well. We want to share power with unionists on the basis of partnership and equality.
We have watched closely Peter Robinson’s leadership of the DUP to date. It has not been an impressive tenure. Commitments have been entered into but not met. There has been a refusal to operate the political institutions on the basis of equality and partnership. We have witnessed the setting of unrealistic preconditions and a failure to agree the transfer of powers over Policing and Justice. There has been a continual pandering to those rejectionists within and outside his own party.
The Irish and British Governments made it clear that a date for transfer of powers over Policing and Justice needed to be set before Christmas. Martin McGuinness reminded them of this earlier in the week.
So time is short for the DUP to prove that they are up to the task. If they once again fail to deliver on their commitments then all eyes will shift onto the two governments. They have an obligation to set out how they intend to take the process forward and to implement the outstanding aspects of both the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements.

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