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4 March 1999 Edition

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Nationalist hopes as yet confounded

A myth pedalled by unionist politicians and now taken up by others within the SDLP and the 26 County political establishment is that the issue of decommissioning is the only piece of a larger political jigsaw which has yet to fall into place.

But the reality is that none of the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement have been implemented and in terms of the political expectations of the nationalist community, they have all been as yet confounded.

There has been no response to the hearings of the Patten Commission. The Criminal Justice Review remains at a consultative stage.

There has been no movment on demilitarisation, despite a number of empty public relations exerecises. The permanent British army/RUC checkpoints which have been removed were installations which had already fallen into disuse. The British army have yet to dismantle any of their bases and in fact militarisation has increased in many nationalist communities, particularly in rural areas, since the Good Friday Agreement.

Political prisoners remain in jails North and South.

None of the political instituions provided for under the terms of the Agreement have been established.

Political prisoners remain in jails without relaease dates.

Violent loyalist attacks against members the nationalist community have escalated against the backdrop of a political vacuum engineered by unionist politcians, led by David Trimble.

The siege of Garvaghy Road continues, without a word of concern from local MP David Trimble whose posturing is encouraging the actions of his fellow Orangemen in Portadown.

It is in this context that the argument around decomissioning should be viewed. It is not the final piece of a larger jigsaw but is merely being used as an obstacle to the putting the jigsaw of conflict resolution togther.

International Women's Day

As we approach the year 2,000 the Irish peace process has been endorsed by thousands of women who want to see real change, not the repitition of empty formulas.

This means that the sister of Robert Hamill will see the bigotry of the unionist RUC officially exposed in the same way that the mother of Stephen Lawrence has seen the racism of the police in London laid bare.

The women leading the community resistance to the permanent siege of the Garvaghy Road should be an inspiration to women evreywhere who resist institutionalised sectarinism, racism and discrimination.

The year 2,000 will usher in demands for childcare, the ending of poverty for women in urban and rural communities Ireland. Sinn Feein supports the demands of the key campaigns of the women's movement on childcare, education and employment.

Irish republican women send greetings to our sisters in Ireland and worldwide who are fighting oppression and inequality and for the liberation of all women and therfore for the whole of humanity.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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