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February 04, 2005

02/04/05 – Sinn Fein Week in Review

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005

Sinn Fein The Week in Review

29 Jan to 4 Feb 2005

Governments' approach is `damaging the process’

On 3 February Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP was speaking at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, on the current situation with the peace process. Mr Adams said that the approach of the two governments had `effectively scuttled the unprecedented IRA initiatives which they publicly outlined in December’ and that they had `opted to attack the commitment, integrity and motivation of Sinn Fein’. He said this had `no place in a peace process’.

He added that `If an Irish government will not stand up to a British government in defence of the rights of Irish citizens - then who will? The role of the British government and its agencies in Ireland has been shameful. When Mr. Blair came into government he signalled a willingness to find a way out of this. He needs to deliver on his historic and current obligations. We have acknowledged Tony Blair's positive contribution, as we do the Taoiseach's, but we have told them both that confrontation is not the way forward. Otherwise the peace process could be as transient as his time in Downing Street.’

He said the challenge now `for all those in positions of political leadership is to rescue the situation.’ That would be the focus of the Sinn Fein leadership, he said, adding `but we cannot do this on our own. The two governments have a critically important contribution to make. Either they can rise to the hard and difficult challenge of peace making or they can go on making a bad situation worse.’

Link to Adams Statement

RA withdraws offer

Link to IRA Statement

Huge nationalist anger at mishandling of current situation by the two governments

On 2 February Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness led a party delegation to meet British Secretary of State Paul Murphy in Hillsborough. Mr McGuinness, speaking after the meeting, said Paul Murphy had been left with `no illusions about the huge anger within the nationalist and republican community at the current mishandling of the situation by the two governments.’

He said that Mr Blair's comments that the only obstacle to a comprehensive agreement was the IRA were `silly because this is patently not the case’. Unionism, Mr McGuinness said, had `not demonstrated that it will share power with nationalist and republicans’.

He pointed out that `last December when the DUP walked away from power sharing deal that would have seen the political institutions established and the IRA dealing with the issues of arms and activities show us that unionism has not accepted power sharing as Mr Blair alleged.’

He said both governments were `well aware of Sinn Fein's commitment to peaceful and democratic means’.

Sinn Féin had been `the engine driving the peace process for the last decade’ and were committed to `make this process work’. However, he concluded `The process can only move forward on the basis of respect for parties democratic mandates. This is the key. Currently this is absent regarding Sinn Féin and our electorate.’

l Sinn Fein Assembly Member and negotiating team member Conor Murphy will be among speakers discussing the peace process in Ireland organised by the Ministry for Peace, on Weds 9 February, 7pm in the Grand Committee Room, House of Commons. A senior Sinn Fein representative will also address a meeting on the current crisis in the peace process on Wednesday 23 February, 8pm at the London Irish Centre, Murray Street, NW1.

Anger at PSNI raids

On 31 January, South Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey reacted furiously to an ongoing PSNI operation in the Markets area.
Mr Maskey said that for a number of hours the PSNI had been raiding homes in the area, and described this as `a heavy handed operation involving up to 20 PSNI land rovers’. He said the previous night’s `tragic stabbing incident’ it appeared was being used `as an excuse to disrupt life within this community and the scale and approach of their operation is completely unacceptable and unjustifiable’.
He concluded: `This sort of heavy handed policing belongs in the past. However in recent months it seems that the PSNI are increasingly adopting the tactics employed
for decades by the RUC in their approach to republican and nationalist communities.’

On 4 February Sinn Féin Councillor Lynn Fleming said that a `mini invasion’ by the PSNI into Gobnascale the previous night was `totally unwarranted’.

Councillor Fleming said that at least seven armoured land rovers and two armoured saloon cars had entered the estate to search a garage for a quad bike that local young people had been using. She said some of the landrovers `roved the estate pointing search lights into homes and alleyways and into crowds of youths’.

She added `As we have seen in other nationalist areas across the north the PSNI have … now resorted to the old tactics of heavy handed policing. What we seen in Gobnascale last night was community punishment by the PSNI as they swarmed the area creating tensions and goading the youth of the area’.

Bloody Sunday remembered in London

On Sunday 6 February, Bloody Sunday relatives representative Jean Heggarty, and Sinn Fein Foyle Assembly Member Raymond McCartney, will be among speakers at a rally to mark the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, at 2.30pm in London's Conway Hall, Red Lion Square. The them of the meeting will be `From the Bogside to Basra -- time for truth', and they will be joined by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who was recently in Palestine to observe the elections, and Sabah Jawad of the Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation.

Sinn Féin MLAs unanimously back water charges strike action

On 4 February Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy said the Sinn Fein Assembly team unanimously agreed to support industrial action announced by trade unions opposing the introduction of water charges.

Mr Molloy said it important that `across the political spectrum we put aside our differences and concentrate on how we can stop the plans to impose these unfair water charges’ which would be `devastating’.

He said the current proposals would `hit those least able to pay hardest’ and that it was `in essence another form of taxation’, adding `it should not be down to people to pay for the investment that successive British governments have failed to deliver’.

Sinn Fein MEP addresses opening of 5th World Parliamentary Forum

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún last weekend addressed the opening session of the World Parliamentary Forum in Brazil. The World Parliamentary Forum is meeting for two days in the Legislative Assembly in Porto Alegre as part of the World Social Forum.

Speaking at the opening session of the Forum, Ms de Brún said:
`In the context of corporate globalisation it is partularly important that we come together as parliamentarians, to promote social and economic equality, to share experiences and analysis of the ways in which we confront the challenges facing us but also quite concretely to take initiatives for peace, justice, and social and economic equality in our regions and beyond’.

She added `We must also remember that the World Parliamentary Forum has grown out of the World Social Forum and that we cannot allow ourselves to become separate from those social movements if we are to have the required strength and purpose to move forward. We must lend our strength to the growing grass roots campaigns and demands for social and economic justice, human rights and equality’.

The task, she said, was two-fold : “Firstly to plan, to strategise, but also to act and take initiatives. Secondly our task is to do so as parliamentarians but in dialogue with and in concert with the social movements. It is essential that our work here today should be grounded in these two main tasks.’

Ms de Brún also attended the launch in Brazil, by President Lula, of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) - made up of a number of organisations including trades unions, faith-based organisations and other NGOs. The Global Call to Action against Poverty want world governments to implement promises made to fight poverty, including implementation of the Milennium Development Goals. The campaign symbol is a white band which the Global Call to Action against Poverty ask everyone to wear on 1 July to mark the G8 in Scotland and on 10 September to mark the Millenium Development Summit.’

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

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents – Feb 2005
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