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January 14, 2005

01/14/05 - SF Week In Review

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Table of Contents - Jan 2005

Sinn Fein The Week in Review

9-13 January 1005

Adams tells party to oppose discrimination by two governments

On 12 January Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said that the party must prepare to resist any campaign of discrimination by the British and Irish governments against Sinn Fein’s electorate. The Sinn Féin President said: there were `considerable difficulties following the DUP rejection of the comprehensive agreement in December. At that time there was an unprecedented opportunity to resolve all of the outstanding issues and see the Good Friday Agreement implemented. This foundered on an unachievable demand from Ian Paisley supported by the two governments. Despite this Sinn Féin continued to search for a way forward with the governments.’

He said the Northern Bank robbery was `seized upon by opponents of the process on the one hand and by opponents of Sinn Féin on the other to prevent any further progress. The British government now appears to be considering a return to the failed policy of discrimination against Sinn Féin, and the Irish government for its own reasons appears to be in support of this.’

He said Sinn Féin rejected any attack on `our democratic and electoral mandate’.

He added `Despite all of our reservations and concerns as republicans Sinn Féin has been prepared to work with the British government in the common interest of

building a lasting peace. That remains our focus and intention. However we will not acquiesce to the undermining of the rights and entitlements of our electorate.’

He said they were `seriously concerned about the Taoiseach's decision to attack Sinn Féin. His allegation that our leadership was aware in advance of the Northern Bank robbery creates difficulties in the working relationship between the Irish government and Sinn Féin. I reject these accusations totally and I am disappointed that the Taoiseach didn't raise any concerns he might have with me directly.’

He concluded: `It is important that we all avoid knee-jerk reactions. The Sinn Féin leadership is currently assessing all of this, the implications of any attack on our mandate and our future role in the process. Unless wiser counsel prevails short-sighted decisions by the governments could have profound implications. In this context we are seeking meetings with the British and Irish governments next week.’

Meanwhile, on 11 January, Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin was in London after the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy made his statement to the British House of Commons concerning the unsubstantiated allegation alleging IRA involvement in the robbery at the Northern Bank.

Mitchel McLaughlin reiterated that Sinn Féin's participation in the process and in any government was `based entirely on our substantial electoral mandate and nothing else. We are the largest nationalist party in the six counties and the third largest party on

this island. In contrast Paul Murphy has no mandate from the Irish people and we will not tolerate attempts by him to sanction or demonise the Sinn Féin electorate’.

He added `Sinn Féin will not take lectures from any British government on criminality when successive British governments engaged in a policy of state sanctioned murder against the nationalist community through their control and direction of the unionist death squads. The current British government of which Paul Murphy is part continues to cover-up this activity.’

On 10 January, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness said now was `not the time for the governments to throw in the towel on the talks and set to one side all that has been achieved in recent months.’

He said it was `Sinn Féin's priority for the last fifteen years has been to secure a peace process, transform politics on the island and advance the argument for Irish unity. We have invested huge time and resources in the peace process, as have others, and we will not allow unsubstantiated allegations to deflect us in our work.’

He added `Sinn Féin is a major player in the peace process because over 340,000 people voted for us. We will not allow our mandate to be set-aside on anyone's behalf. Now is not the time for the governments to throw in the towel on the talks and set to one side all that has been achieved in recent months. I am not dismissing the difficulties that this robbery has caused because even before this incident there were difficulties created by the DUP's refusal to share power with Sinn Fein. Instead of responding to an agenda being set by those who oppose the peace process and who use every opportunity to undermine it, political leaders need to examine the facts, defend the Agreement and move on.’

Sinn Féin to hold major rally to mark beginning of celebrations for Céad Bliain Shinn Féin

On 14 January Sinn Féin will hold a major rally in the Round Room in the Mansion House in Dublin to launch its programme of events for the 100th anniversary of Sinn Féin.

The event will be chaired by Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin MLA and Chair of Comóradh an Chéid Caitríona Ruane will announce details of many of the events which will take place over the year.

During the evening there will also be music and a multi media and dramatic presentation depicting key events of the last 100 years. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will also give a keynote address setting out the party’s priorities for the time ahead and the current difficulties in the peace process.

Amazement At Lisburn Council decision to slash equality budget

On 13 Januarty Sinn Féin Council Group leader on Lisburn Council Paul Butler said that people were `amazed’ that Lisburn council `with such an appalling record of discrimination has slashed its budget for equality schemes in half’.

Cllr. Butler said the meeting the previous evening had seen the council decide that the budget for 'City Promotions' would be increased by £80,000. He said `This is the group which produces the glossy advertisements proclaiming Lisburn as a 'City for All'. In order to fund this PR exercise it has been decided to slash the money set aside to promote equality schemes in the area from £40,000 to £20,000. This in the Council area with one of the worst records of discrimination in the six counties.’

He added `Nationalists living in the Lisburn Council area will be amazed at this turn of events. Instead of bolstering efforts to actually tackle the problems of inequality and discrimination the Councillors in Lisburn have decided instead to spend scarce resources in promoting a campaign pretending that all is well in the borough. All is not well in Lisburn. No amount of glossy adverts will change this reality. This sort of approach is typical of the head in the sand attitude of unionists in Lisburn to the issue of equality.’

Sinn Féin MEPs call for cancellation of developing world debt

On 14 January Sinn Féin MEPs Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brún voted in favour of a European Parliament resolution calling for the cancellation of developing world debt. The motion was proposed by the GUE/NGL group. The resolution comes in the wake of the reduction of Iraqi debt.

Ms McDonald said: 'Four years ago the Jubilee 2000 petition calling for the cancellation of developing world debt was signed by 24 million people world wide. Last year the Africa Social Forum in Lusaka called for the cancellation of 100% of the debt of developing countries.

'The continued burden of servicing debt is actively preventing many countries from countering the devastating impact of poverty, disease, post-conflict reconstruction and development of much needed infrastructure, economic development and public service provision.

'To date the response of the major powers within the international community has been wholly inadequate. In 2003 low-income countries paid $39 billion in servicing their debt. In the same year the same countries received only $27 billion in aid. Such a situation is ludicrous.

'Sinn Féin has long called for the cancellation of developing world debt. Today we are calling on the European Commission and the Member States to pursue an active and coordinated policy, both within multilateral institutions and on a bilateral basis, for the full cancellation of the foreign debt of all developing countries.

'We also believe that the target of 0.7% of GNP for development aid must be met as soon as possible in order to attain the Millennium Development Goals. The Irish government must reconsider its position on this matter and honour its previous commitment to meet this target.

'In addition Sinn Féin believes that the policies of deregulating and liberalising the economies of indebted developing countries, as promoted by the World Trade Organisation, adversely affect the economies of those countries.

'Any future economic partnership agreements, including the EU-African Caribbean and Pacific free trade agreement, must be linked to the cancellation of foreign debt, if these trends are to be reversed.’

Week in Review is circulated by Sinn Fein MPs. Telephone 020 7219 8162. email

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Table of Contents - Jan 2005
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