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March 24, 2007

IAUC: Powersharing Needed in Belfast!


Washington DC, March 23 - The Irish American Unity Conference
(IAUC) has urged the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern
Ireland to seize what could be the final chance in a generation,
and establish a cross-community power-sharing government by
Monday, March 26th.

Despite the British government's unequivocal warning that this
deadline was "set in stone", unionism's largest political party,
the Democratic Unionist Party, continues to be non-committal on
whether it will share power with pro-united Ireland nationalist

The proposed devolution of power from London to a Belfast-based
parliament, led by a cross-community (unionist/nationalist)
power-sharing administration, was the keystone upon which the US-
brokered Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in 1998 was built.

Since the GFA was signed, unionism has primarily cited IRA
weaponry and lack of republican support for policing as
sufficient reasons for avoiding sharing power with nationalists.
Now that the British, Irish and US governments have stated that
republicans have conclusively and unambiguously met their
obligations on these issues, unionism is now faced with the true
implication of the peace process: the days of crude
majoritarianism are over. Consensus, not domination, is the
future of Northern Ireland politics.

"[DUP leader] Ian Paisley bears a tremendous responsibility for
the political cul-de-sac the North was in for 30 years," IAUC
president Irene Cahill said today. "Now, he has an opportunity
to transcend his past and do the right thing for all the people
of the North. He has an opportunity to transform the political
discourse from divisive sectarianism toward a shared dialogue of
an inter-dependant future. He has an opportunity to utter what
has been absent from his political vocabulary for over a century;
that simple word is 'YES'. The days of rejectionist unionism are

Cahill called upon President Bush to make it clear to Mr. Paisley
that 'no' to power-sharing is no longer good enough. "The US
brokered the GFA. We are a party to it. Our President should
spell out to Mr. Paisley the consequences of further
rejectionism. Paisley is the single obstacle to embedded peace
in the North.

"Mr. Paisley needs to fundamentally accept that remaining
politically relevant requires full acceptance of the equality of
Sinn Fein's democratic mandate," Cahill said.

Sinn Fein would be the DUP's major nationalist partner in a
future power-sharing government.

"The era of unionist majorities is ending and-with the
educational, economic and cultural indices for the newly emergent
Catholic population rising all the time-it appears unionism is
trapped in the headlights. Unionism won 4.6% more 1st preference
votes than nationalism in this month's Assembly election. In the
2003 Assembly election, unionism's 1st preference lead was 10.1%.
The writing is on the wall. Is Mr. Paisley prepared to face the
challenge? Is he prepared to lead when true leadership is
needed? Or will he revert to type and drag the DUP back to its
fundamentalist sectarian roots?" Cahill asked. (The DUP was
initially called the Protestant Unionist Party.)

"If ever there were a time to do a deal and attempt to create a
new society, now would be the ideal time to do so. His legacy is
in his own hands."

"Working for Justice & Peace in a Re-united Ireland"
nonpartisan, nonsectarian, chapter-based human rights
organization working for justice and peace in Ireland. We
are a wholly American 501c(4) organization that advocates
the end of British colonial occupation and the peaceful
reunification of Ireland. We endeavor to achieve these
goals by working through the American democratic process.
Individually, our members represent every occupational and
educational stratum in the United States.

Contact: Irene McDonnell Cahill
National President

National Office
611 Pennsylvania Ave, SE #4150
Washington, D.C. 20003

Tel: (517) 548-7916
Cell: (517) 488-1486

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