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February 18, 2005

02/18/05 - SF Week In Review

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Feb 2005

Sinn Fein
The Week in Review
13-20 February 2005

McGuinness - Irish peace process in crisis

Speaking in London on 15 February, before travelling to Oxford to address a seminar on conflict resolution with DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP underlined the need for ` inclusivity and for dialogue’.

He said there was `no doubt that the Irish peace process is in deep, deep crisis’, but added `this does not stem from the robbery at the Northern Bank in Belfast before Christmas, though that robbery has deepened the problems’. The crisis, he said began `when the DUP leader Ian Paisley rejected the unprecedented offer form the IRA to deal conclusively with the issue of IRA activities and IRA arms.’

He added `All that remains of the peace process is the IRA cessation. There is no political process. No effort at meaningful dialogue. No serious attempt to resolve the current difficulties.’

He reiterated Sinn Fein’s commitment to `defending the peace process and to preventing any return to conflict and violence’ and was prepared to `immediately enter into meaningful dialogue and discussion and to face up to our responsibilities in all of this’. He said he believed that `if we are collectively committed to this approach that the outstanding issues can, indeed they must be resolved’.

He said it was important to remember the `enormous progress we have collectively made over the last 10 years. The political situation has been transformed, not just in Belfast, Derry and other parts of the north of Ireland, but right across the island of Ireland and here also in Britain’.

He added that the `mandate and democratic integrity of every party must not only be recognised, it must be upheld and defended’, and that this was `at the core of peace building and conflict resolution. There is no viable alterative to the peace process. There is no viable alternative to politics.’

Support for the McCartney Family. Referring to the killing of Robert McCartney, Martin McGuinness said `No matter who was responsible or whatever their politics, the killing of Robert McCartney was wrong. It should not have happened and there must be no cover-up. The McCartney family deserve the truth and they deserve justice. I fully and unequivocally support them in this. I want to encourage any person with any information whatsoever in relation to this deplorable killing not to hold this information back but to pass it on immediately. Many people in the communities affected do have reservations about the PSNI but if that is the case then the information should be passed to the family or to any respected person or organisation.’

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, in a separate statement also said Sinn Fein `supports the McCartney family in their quest for truth and justice. There are allegations that Robert McCartney was killed by republicans. I want to make it absolutely clear that no one involved acted as a republican or on behalf of republicans. I repudiate this brutal killing in the strongest terms possible. No one has any right, as has been claimed, to prevent anyone from helping the McCartney family. People with reservations about assisting the PSNI should give any information they might have either to the family, a solicitor or any other authoritative or reputable person or body.’

Sinn Fein to address London meeting on peace process crisis. Sinn Fein assembly member, and former Mayor of Belfast, Alex Maskey will address a meeting on Wednesday 23 February at 8pm at the London Irish Centre, Murray Street, NW1. Mr Maskey will address the current crisis in the peace process.

Sinn Fein comments on Cork arrests. On 17 February, commenting on reports in the media this evening surrounding arrests in Cork and Dublin a Sinn Féin spokesperson said: `I am aware of reports in the media this evening regarding arrests in Cork and Dublin and speculation that it is linked to the Northern Bank Robbery. Sinn Féin’s position on this robbery is clear. Over the last four weeks we have seen people rush to judgement time and time again. We would urge people to exercise caution on this occasion and allow the truth to come out. Sinn Féin has no further information about these arrests and we will wait to see how events unfold before we comment further.’

Elections are an opportunity for real change

On 15 February, Sinn Féin Councillor Joe Reilly commented on the forthcoming Meath by-election as `an opportunity for real change.’

Cllr Reilly said `Sinn Féin is going into these elections in confident mood. Since coming so close to taking a seat in the 2002 General Election, Sinn Féin's phenomenal growth has continued in the county with more and more people supporting our agenda for change. We are confident of taking this seat.

He added `More and more people recognise and value Sinn Féin's leading role in the peace process, our work on Local Councils and within local communities. Sinn Féin offers the only real alternative - we are about building an Ireland of equals, where corruption, neglect and inequality are things of the past. We have a record of making a difference in communities throughout Ireland.’ He called for `proper investment in job creation’ including `developing our infrastructure to a much higher standard. We need to address a lengthening housing waiting list and lack of social and affordable housing, transport chaos, lack of health and childcare services and much more.’

He concluded that Sinn Fein was stain ding `for change, our leading role in the peace process, and our record of working on the ground in communities across Meath. We will be bringing these issues to the doors in the coming weeks and seeking a mandate for change.’

Alliance Party again refuse support for St Patrick’s carnival in Belfast

Belfast Sinn Féin Council Group Leader Tom Hartley has blasted the Alliance party after they again refused to back plans for a St. Patrick's Day carnival in the city. Cllr. Hartley said the Alliance party in Belfast City Hall had `firmly nailed their colours to the unionist mast. In the recent past they have refused to support power sharing on the council and now have failed to support the St. Patrick's Day Carnival in the city.’

Cllr Hartley said `many people will be shocked at the hypocrisy of the Mayor Tom Eakin’ who had voted to prevent St. Patrick's Day funding for Belfast’ but who would `travel to London to take part in St Patrick's Day celebrations there.’

l Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty MP will be in London for the St Patrick’s celebrations, where he will attend the March and festival on 13 March, and host a reception later in the week.

Gerry Adams addresses Sinn Fein Women’s conference: `Equality for all is Sinn Féin's priority’

On 12 February Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams gave the opening address to a Sinn Féin Women's conference in Newry.

Mr Adams said that the lessons of the last ten years – in the context of the peace process – was that `improved circumstances mean little for the disadvantaged if those who are in power continue to retain power and implement the same policies’, pointing to the widening gap between rich and poor,` gender inequality as prevalent as ever it was and with public services in chaos north and south’.

He said, despite the current difficulties, huge progress had been made but `this came about not because of any great desire on the part of the political establishment but because people supported the peace process and supported the work of Sinn Féin and others to bring about change.’

He praised the election of Sinn Fein’s two MEPs, Bairbre de Brun and Mary Lou MacDonald, who had addressed the European parliament’s opening session `talking about Irish unity, equality and peace’.

He said he `looked forward’ to seeing Michelle Gildernew and Caitríona Ruane returned for Fermanagh/South Tyrone and South Down respectively.

He paid tribute to the important role `women have played in the struggle for Irish freedom, in the fight for equality and social justice in Ireland and in the development of the Sinn Fein party’, adding that in the celebrations of Sinn Féin’s centenary year, `it is timely that we acknowledge the huge advances that have been made across society, many of them as a result of the hard work of revolutionary Irish women’, making reference to the involvement of women in the trade union movement, the Co-Operative movement, the development of Irish industries and agriculture, Inghínne na hEireann and the movement for Women's Suffrage, Irish Womens Workers Union of Ireland.

He also highlighted Constance Markieviez, Minister for Labour in the First Dáil, who was one of the first women Cabinet Ministers in the world, and Margaret Buckley, President of Sinn Féin from 1937 to 1950.

He said a `key aim’ during the centenary year had to be `to increase the number of women in Sinn Féin and the number of women in positions of leadership, including more republican women standing for elected office in winnable seats across this island’.

As part of our Céad Bliain celebrations Sinn Fein is commissioning the writing of the story of Irish republican women's' involvement in political life over the past thirty years, he said which would `chronicle the many and varied contributions and experiences of women in that critical episode in our history’.

He also remembered the many women killed during 30 years of war, including members o fSinn Fein such as Vice President of Sinn Féin Máire Drumm.

He said Sinn Fein was fully committed to equality to women, and for all those in Irish society. He said that included `confronting anti-traveller prejudice and an end to the criminalisation of that section of our people. It means legislative change to recognise the full diversity of

partnerships, including lesbian couples. It means recognising the right of women with disabilities to make their full contribution to society as equal citizens.For Irish women this means real and substantive support for women as workers, pensioners, students, homemakers, carers and mothers.’

He added `It also means increasing the representation of women in all areas of Irish society. It means creating changes to the political systems to encourage more family friendly practices. This society needs a complete sea change, if women are ever to be given the rights that they are fully entitled to. It also needs men to move over.’

He concluded `Our goals of freedom, of justice, equality and peace will only be realised with the full participation of women from across our society.’

Taoiseach should call special summit on collusion with British Prime

Following the publication of the latest Oireachtas Sub-Committee Report on collusion this week, Sinn Féin Dail leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin called on the Taoiseach to arrange a special summit meeting on the issue with the British Prime Minister. Deputy Ó Caolain said, the report was a `scathing in its criticism of the lack of co-operation from the British government. The British Prime

Minister Tony Blair is found to be acting in conflict with the Good Friday Agreement because of his refusal, in a letter to the Taoiseach, to establish an inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974.’

He added that `The Report also criticises British Secretary of State Paul Murphy for his spurious claim that a ‘further major and time-consuming search’ through records was not possible. It is now time for the Taoiseach to call a special summit meeting with the British Prime Minister on the whole issue of collusion. He should also ensure that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform establishes a fully comprehensive Commission of Investigation into the Garda handling of the whole range of collusion issues covered by Judge Barron, the Oireachtas Committee and those mentioned in today’s report.’

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

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Feb 2005
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