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May 19, 2005

Sinn Fein Week in Review

Sinn Fein
The Week in Review
12 to 19 May 2005

Sinn Féin delegation meet Tony Blair in Downing Street

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP along with senior negotiator Martin
McGuinness MP, party Vice President Pat Doherty MP, Michelle Gildernew
MP, Conor Murphy MP and Mary Lou McDonald MEP met British Prime
Minister Tony Blair on 19 May, in Downing Street.

The previous day Gerry Adams MP and others also met US Special Envoy
Mitchell Reiss at the US Consul General's residence in Belfast.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Adams said that, from the discussions he
was `confident that the US administration remains committed to the
peace process and to playing a constructive role in support for
efforts to rebuild it.'

He added, `Tomorrow we will be in London to meet Mr. Blair. Sinn Féin
is intent on achieving the re-establishment of the power sharing
Executive, the political institutions and the all-Ireland Bodies. I
told Mr. Reiss that while we all await the outcome of the IRA's
internal discussion, others have responsibilities also - not least the
British and Irish governments and the DUP. Sinn Féin is determined to
rebuild the peace process.'

He said `We want to resolve all of the outstanding issues. This will
require a collective effort to move it forward. It will particularly
require the British government to demonstrate to the DUP a
determination to push ahead with the implementation of those aspects
of the Agreement, demilitarisation, equality, human rights, collusion,
Irish language policing and justice, irrespective of that party's
attitude to the political institutions.'

On 17 May – the day of the state opening of the Westminster Parliament
-- Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy was also in London
to ensure `a clear focus on the united Ireland agenda' and on `the
need to rebuild the peace process'.

Mr Murphy said the British government had a `key role to play in
implementing the Good Friday Agreement and in bringing the peace
process to a successful conclusion', which was `the most immediate
challenge facing all of us'.

He said Sinn Fein `wanted to do business with the representatives of
unionism but if they refuse to engage they cannot be allowed a veto
over progress', adding that key elements of the Good Friday Agreement
did not require co-operation from the DUP.

He called for progress on equality, human rights, collusion, the Irish
language, demilitarisation, justice and policing, which were all
`entirely the responsibility of the British government'.

Hain must end sanctions programme

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew has
called on the new British Secretary of State Peter Hain to immediately
lift the programme of sanctions and discrimination placed upon the
Sinn Fein electorate by his predecessor.

Ms Gildernew said Sinn Fein's strengthened mandate underlined the need
to end the sanctions and said that the Secretary of State must `now
end the sanctions programme against our electorate and get back to the
job of making politics work and seeing the political process advanced
further in the time ahead.'

Meanwhile Conor Murphy MP described comments by the Irish Justice
Minister Michael McDowell branding the right of northern MPs to
representation in the Dail as 'a concession which was not on the

Mr Murphy said the issue of representation for Northern elected
representatives in the Dail had been put on the agenda by Sinn Féin.
He said `the rights and entitlements of Irish citizens living in the
six counties are not concessions as McDowell would have us believe.
His remarks on this issue today are typically partitionist, short
sighted and flawed.' He said Mr McDowell's comments put `narrow party
political and partitionist interests before the achievement of
national and democratic rights and before the advancement of the peace

Adams unequivocally condemns any threats against McCartney's

Speaking on 13 May, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams `condemned
unequivocally and without qualification or reservation' any threats
made against the McCartney family.

The Sinn Féin President commented after it emerged that the PSNI had
warned the family of threats from 'criminal elements' and a statement
from the family suggesting that this was a reference to republicans.

Mr Adams said: `I am confident that there are no threats to this
family from republicans. The recent election results were a clear
endorsement of Sinn Féin's stand in support of the family and we
remain totally behind their objective of having the men responsible
for the murder of Robert McCartney brought to court and held to
account for their actions.'

The Sinn Fein leader was critical of the PSNI handling of the murder
enquiry. He said: `I have been told that key eye witness testimony has
been given to the PSNI identifying those involved in the assault in
the street in which Robert

McCartney was murdered. In any other high profile murder case, in any
other city, I'm sure matters would have been investigated more
thoroughly and with more urgency.'

Sinn Féin will not compromise on workers rights - Mary Lou McDonald

On 11 May Sinn Féin Chairperson and MEP for Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald,
said Sinn Fein would 'not compromise on the rights of workers within
the European Union'.

Ms McDonald spoke after the European Parliament voted to end the 'opt
out clause' from the 48-hour maximum working week. A number of member
states had exemptions from the Working Time Directive. Both Ms
McDonald and party colleague, Bairbre de Brún MEP voted in favour of
the removal of the 'opt out clause,' and supported a number of
amendments to strengthen the rights of workers.

Sinn Fein opposed to British ID cards for Irish citizens

On 17 May Sinn Féin Human Rights and Equality Spokesperson, Caitríona
Ruane, said that Sinn Féin were `fundamentally opposed to the
introduction of British ID cards'.

Ms Ruane said the proposals would create a UK-wide database holding
information on individuals such as names, addresses, and biometric
information like fingerprints, facial scans and iris scans by 2008.

She said the ID cards would `undermine not just civil liberties but
also fundamentally the right of people living in the north to their
Irish identity' and questioned why Irish citizens in the North should
have to carry such a British ID card?

She added that, `within the context of a deeply divided and sectarian
society the opportunity for authorities here to abuse a database of
this nature and the ability of agencies such as the PSNI to use such
information or ID cards to discriminate against nationalist is huge.'

Unionists challenged over commitment to power-sharing

On 17 May Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler said the party would call
on the British government to appoint an administrator to run Lisburn
council if there was no change in council practices, which saw the
political exclusion of nationalists, after the council AGM. Cllr
Butler said they would also ask the Irish government to back the

He called on other political parties on Lisburn council, the SDLP,
Alliance and UUP, to join Sinn Fein `to block the DUP's politics of
exclusion'. DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson will lead the DUP into Lisburn
council, he said `with the sole intention of turning the council into
a unionist fiefdom dominated by the DUP', and that other parties
should oppose the DUP's aim to `exclude the largest nationalist party
on the council - Sinn Fein'.

He said the British government should appoint an administrator until
they bring in legislation that makes it binding on councils like
Lisburn `to have in place power sharing arrangements and other checks
and balances to curb discrimination in relation to council services
and facilities'.

He concluded: "Lisburn council has been a bastion of unionist
discrimination in the North' which had to be challenged.

Sinn Féin launch EU referendum campaign

This week Sinn Fein launched its campaign calling on Irish voters to
reject the proposed EU Constitution in forthcoming referenda, expected
to take place north and south in 2005 and 2006. Sinn Fein President
Gerry Adams called on the Taoiseach to publish the government's
proposals immediately and to put the referendum to the people this

Mr. Adams said the proposed EU Constitution `was not in the interests
of the people of Ireland'. He added "The debate on the EU Constitution
is not between pro and anti Europeans. It is a debate over different
visions for the future of the EU.' He said that Sinn Féin wanted to
see `an EU that promotes sustainable growth, environmental protection,
social and economic equality, human rights and global justice'.

Sinn Féin back unions protest against school cuts

Gerry Adams MP has given Sinn Féin's full backing to the protests
across the six counties organised by the trade unions in opposition to
the cuts in services resulting from cuts to the Education Library
Board budgets.

Speaking on 13 May Mr Adams said Sinn Féin had been in contact with
the new Minister for Education Angela Smith and asked for a meeting to
discuss the Government's Budget Slashing Programme that has resulted
in such devastating cuts to school services.

He said it was `essential that we collectively display our opposition
through protests as those organised by the trade unions and it is also
important that we confront the Minister responsible while working
towards securing a new Assembly with local Ministers'.

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