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December 02, 2004

News 12/02/04 - SF Week In Review

Sinn Fein
The Week in Review
26 November to 2 December 2004

Peace process: `exhaustive' negotiations towards getting a
`comprehensive agreement'

25 November. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP briefed the party's
Ard Chomhairle (national executive) on the current state of
negotiations with the Irish and British Governments.

Mr. Adams said that some time ago Sinn Féin had asked the two
governments to bring forward proposals `bedded in the Good Friday
Agreement, aimed at delivering on its commitments'. They had also
proposed that, if rejectionist unionism did not come on board, `the
governments need to proceed without them'.

He said the negotiations team had `worked late into the night with
Dublin and London officials on the points of concern which we
raised with them last Wednesday, when we received the governments
outline for a comprehensive agreement'.

Sinn Féin's focus, he said, was `to get a comprehensive
agreement... to bring the DUP on board and to ensure that the two
governments remain faithful to the Agreement'. He added `If we are
to be successful… then the governments have to work with the pro
agreement parties and refuse to give a veto to rejectionist
unionism'. He said it also meant `the DUP entering government with
Sinn Féin, sharing power with republicans on the basis of equality
and mutual respect'.

He said it was `particularly important to remember this at a time
when the DUP has presented the two governments with a range of
issues for clarification and at a time when they are still refusing
to give a clear commitment to work the power sharing institutions
with republicans'.

Work would continue with with the two governments in the days
ahead, he concluded.
29 November. Gerry Adams was in London, leading a party delegation
including Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, Assembly members
Catriona Ruane and Gerry Kelly, Ard Chomhairle member Cllr Joe
Reilly and Michelle Gildernew MP to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair
in Downing Street. The key issue under discussion was
demilitarisation and the need for an immediate accelerated
programme to accomplish this.

The British Prime Minister was accompanied by the PSNI Chief
Hugh Orde.

Speaking before the meeting, party Chairperson Mitchel Mclaughlin
said demilitarisation was `a vital part of the peace process and
part of the unfinished work of the Good Friday Agreement'. He added
that Tony Blair had told Sinn Fein that the responsibility for
demilitarisation rested with the Chief Constable. `Sinn Féin is
meeting him with Mr. Blair in order to press the case for an end to
the military occupation in republican heartlands and to test his
commitment to bring this about' Mr McLaughlin said, adding `there
will be no discussion on policing issues at tomorrows meeting.'

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice issues
Gerry Kelly raised the issue of the inquiry into the murder of Pat
Finucane during talks with Tony Blair and the Taoiseach. Mr Kelly
reiterated Sinn Féin's support for the Finucane family in their
campaign for a public independent judicial inquiry into the murder
of Pat Finucane.

30 November. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP met the Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern and described the meeting as a `good discussion' but
expressed his concern that the `timeframe was stretching'.

Mr. Adams said there were issues that remained, but emphasised
his belief that `a deal could have been done by now if the
political will had existed'. However, he said, Sinn Fein's
priority was `getting all of the bits in place and getting the full
and faithful implementation of the Good Friday Agreement', adding
`We need to get the DUP over the line in terms of a sustainable

Responding to comments made earlier by Ian Paisley, Mr. Adams
dismissed them as `intemperate and highly insulting.' He said
such remarks `do not help the job of making a deal any easier.'

Mr. Adams added, `There has been a lot of anger expressed by not
just Republicans but indeed the broader nationalist community
in relation to the comments. Republicans are not better than
anybody else but neither are we any worse. Republicans are decent

For years we have had the politics of political humiliation.
Attempts were made to humiliate our people in prisons, in
interrogation centres, in our streets and in our homes. It was
a policy that utterly failed. I would suggest that we all need to
be temperate in our language. We all need to start treating
people as we would have them treat us. We need a little more
humility rather than humiliation. We are not about the politics
of humiliation we're about the politics of liberation.'

1 December Gerry Adams MP led a further delegation to Downing
Street for talks with the Tony Blair. Speaking after the meeting Mr
Adams said that as far as he was concerned Sinn Féin 'had made its
final representations on the governments text'.

Mr Adams said they looked to both government`s to make sure that it
is in line with their own criteria, that is, that it upholds the
fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement'

He added that the governments were `absolutely clear about Sinn
Féin's view of their draft outline for a comprehensive agreement'.

He added `We also look to DUP leader, Ian Paisley, to face up to
his responsibilities to join in the collective challenge of peace
making. His refusal to talk to us makes this very difficult. His
recent provocative remarks compound this. They also provide a
rationale for his refusal thus far to embrace the power sharing,
all-Ireland and equality fundamentals of the Good Friday
Agreement.'He said `Ian Paisley set out concerns about the issue of
IRA weapons. Sinn Féin believes that this matter can be dealt with
to the satisfaction of all reasonable people in the context of a
comprehensive agreement. This can only be done under the tutelage
of the IICD.' He concluded: `A deal is still possible. An
accommodation, a partnership of equals, cannot be built through a
process of humiliation. Our focus is on achieving a deal. But it is
only possible in the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.'

2 December Gerry Adams held further meetings with Tony Blair, where
Sinn Fein's `final representation to the two governments on their
proposals' was made. He said it was `now time for a decision'.

He said a `comprehensive deal is possible. But it can only be done
on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement and it cannot be done
through a process of humiliation' He said the British Prime
Minister had `a particular responsibility to impress this on the
DUP leader. Sinn Fein remains focused on achieving a deal. The work
has been done. It is now time for Ian Paisley to decide.'

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly met US
Senators John McCain (Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
in Dublin to brief them on the current state of the political
negotiations. At the meeting both Senators reiterated their
willingness to help and urged all of the parties to secure a deal.
Speaking after the meeting Gerry Kelly said it was a `good meeting'
in which he reiterated that `Sinn Féin is up for doing a deal which
is firmly bedded within the Good Friday Agreement'. Time for doing
that deal, he said `is now'.

Export figures highlight importance of All Ireland trade to 6
county economy

ON 25 November Sinn Féin economy spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin
said that the latest figures from the manufacturing sales and
exports survey highlighted the `increasing importance of all-
Ireland trade to the 6 County economy'.

Mr McLaughlin said the date indicated `good growth in the value of
exports and that the rest of Ireland is now the most important
export market for the 6 county economy'.

He added ``Exports to the south are now worth over £1 billion, a
quarter of all exports. This represents an increase of nearly 12%
over the past year.'

This was evidence, said, that companies based in the 6 counties
were `waking up to and taking advantage of increased opportunities
to build trading relationships across the island'.

He said Sinn Fein believed that `greater co-operation,
harmonisation and strategic interventions by the business and
economic agencies across the island can build on this positive

Sinn Féin's Tourism Spokespersons, Martin Ferris TD and Philip
McGuigan MLA, welcomed the increase in tourists visiting the Six
Counties and said this was due to the work of Tourism Ireland and
the marketing of Ireland as a whole.

Mr McGuigan said over two million tourists will have visited the
north of Ireland by the end of the year. He added `As the tourism
sector continues to grow we must make sure that it is used to help
boost the economic potential of rural communities as well as urban
areas. The increase in co-operation between the 6 and 26 Counties
since the Good Friday Agreement has clearly had an impact on the
growth within this industry. It is obvious therefore that closer
integration is required if the island as a whole is to reach its
full potential.'

Sinn Fein support call for `global action' on World AIDS Day

On 1 December Sinn Fein MP Ms Gildernew joined many in highlighting
World AIDS Day and pointed out the `massive rise in the number of
HIV positive cases occurring across Ireland with referrals to the
six counties only HIV support centre surging'.

Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun, speaking after a debate in the
European Parliament on World AIDS, called on EU leaders to do more
to assist the developing world combat the ever growing pandemic.

Ms de Brún said of the 40 million people across the globe living
with HIV/AIDS, 90% were from developing countries. She called for
`united global action', adding 'Political leaders need to recognise
the relationship between poverty, discrimination and HIV/AIDS, and
the centrality of implementing the Millenium Development Goals to
breaking the cycle of underdevelopment, poverty and disease'.

She said 'Pharmaceutical companies also have a responsibility and
governments must look at ways to reduce prices to enable developing
countries to afford the antiviral drugs which are widely available
in the industrialised world'. Sinn Fein supported the European
Parliamentary resolution on HIV/AIDS.

Anger at 'pittance' allocated to tackling racism

On 2 December Sinn Fein South Belfast Assembly member Cllr Alex
Maskey described the additional £100,000 allocated to help fight
hate crime as a 'pittance' that failed to recognise the scale of
the difficulties faced by ethnic communities and the urgent need
develop a large scale response.

Cllr Maskey drew attention to the fact that reported racist attacks
were increasing in the city and in the north of Ireland every year
and were the `tip of the iceberg'. He said the Housing Executive
dealt with two cases a month on average and over 30 families and
individuals have been forced to flee from their homes. The Equality
Commission figures show racist attacks in Belfast are 30 per cent
higher than in England and Wales (16.4 per cent per 1000 Belfast
population compared to 12.6 for England and Wales).

Meanwhile, on 26 November Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard
condemned an attack on a number of Polish people in Coleraine's
Anderson Park.

TD calls for minute's silence to mark International Day Against
Violence Against Women

On 25 November Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and
Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called on the Dáil to hold a
minute silence to mark International Day Against Violence Against

Deputy Ó Snodaigh called for the Dáil to mark International Day
Against Violence Against Women `in memory of the 106 women
murdered in Ireland since 1996 and in recognition of the fact
that nearly half of all Irish women experience some form of sexual
abuse in their lifetime.'

Deputy Ó'Snodaigh said, `nearly one fifth of Irish women have been
abused by a current or former partner, and fully one quarter of all
violent crimes in our country involve a man assaulting his wife or
partner' and called for `a full debate on how we will muster the
collective political will to tackle this pervasive social problem.'

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Equality, Human Rights and Women,
Catríona Ruane also called for attitudes to be challenged about
violence directed at women, which she said `must be driven be a
wide-ranging commitment to equality and to embracing and
recognising the vital role that women play in society.'

She called for more resources to frontline services supporting
women who are victims of violence and for statutory recognition and
funding for rape crisis centres and women's centres and
prioritising appropriate housing for women and children escaping

De Brún calls for smoking ban in the six Counties

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún, speaking from Brussels this week,
called for the introduction of a smoking ban in the six Counties.
Ms De Brún was reacting to the recent decision by the Scottish
Parliament to introduce a smoking ban in the workplace. She said
`such legislation would be practical and extremely beneficial to
the health of all workers'.

Week in Review is circulated by Sinn Fein MPs. Telephone 020 721
8162. Email or visit

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