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6 September 2019

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6th September 1994 – An historic day, an historic meeting

Twenty-five years ago today, an historic first meeting between Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, and SDLP Leader John Hume took place in Government Buildings, Dublin.

1994: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and SDLP John Humer

“La stairiuil, cruinniú stairiúil” – Gerry Adams TD

6th September 1994 - a date that will go down as one of the milestones in the search for a just and lasting peace on the island of Ireland.

Twenty-five years ago today, an historic first meeting between Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, and SDLP Leader John Hume took place in Government Buildings, Dublin.

The meeting came a week after the IRA announced their ceasefire, and it marked the beginning of the journey towards peace, the Good Friday Agreement and power sharing in the north.  

Following the meeting, the three leaders stated that we were at “the beginning of a new era” with a commitment to democratic and peaceful methods of resolving the existing political problems.

In a joint statement, they said: “We reiterate that our objective is an equitable and lasting agreement that can command the allegiance of all.

“We reiterate that we cannot resolve this problem without the participation and agreement of the Unionist people.

“We call on everyone to use all their influence to bring this agreement about.”

One of the main purposes of the talks was to pave the way for the ‘Forum for Peace and Reconciliation’ to which all parties, including unionists, had been invited.

At a press conference following the meeting, Mr Adams reiterated his invitation to the unionist community.

He said: “I am very mindful of all of those who suffered. I am very mindful of all of those families who have been victims of this conflict.

“I extend in generosity the hand of friendship to my Protestant brothers and sisters in the North.

“A negotiated peace settlement holds no threat to them.

“I have said, and other Sinn Féin Leaders have said, that Mr Reynolds and Mr Hume and President Clinton, have responded both positively and correctly to the IRA’s courageous decision.

“I have sought to reassure the British Government.

“I think we have to be patient, but at the same time, we need to seek to move this process forward.”

Although the forum was boycotted by the Unionist parties and the British government, a broad spectrum of groups - political, religious and community - made written presentations to the Forum. It continued to meet in regular session until February 1996.

Gerry Adams 6th Sept 1994

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