Irish Republican News · July 16, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Blair permitting destruction of Agreement - SF
Blair permitting destruction of Agreement - SF

Gerry Kelly of Sinn Féin has accusing the British government’s Northern Ireland Office of deliberately preventing the implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking in Dublin, Gerry Kelly said the NIO was “out of control” and British Prime Minister Tony Blair was “turning a blind eye” to the situation in Ireland.

Mr Kelly, speaking to the media during a meeting of the party’s leadership in Dublin today, said “There are serious concerns at this time that the NIO is actively undermining the Good Friday Agreement and is having a hugely negative influence on the parades issue. If the British want an agreement in September then they will have to convince republicans that the negative influence of the NIO over this process will end.”

Mr Kelly said it was not clear if Downing Street was “simply appeasing unionism” or if it had “lost control over its own system” in relation to the peace process.

“Sinn Féin wants to see progress made in September, but for this to happen Mr Blair has to get his system in order -- they need to be on board the Good Friday Agreement project and work for its implementation.

“The NIO continue to undermine and minimise Good Friday Agreement commitments on policing, human rights, equality and demilitarisation. And their fingerprints are all over the decisions taken in Ardoyne and Lurgan this week and previously on the Springfield Road.

“Mr Blair cannot allow the NIO to play an insidious role in this process. If the British want an agreement in September then they will have to convince republicans that the negative influence of the NIO over this process is at an end.”

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and the party’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness held talks yesterday in London with Tony Blair’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell.

The parades issue was raised during the discussions.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said a number of issues were “in a mess and that can all be taken back to the very insidious role of the Northern Ireland Office.

“If Mr Blair and the British government, at that level, want an agreement in September and one that involves republicans, then they have to be able to convince us that such a deal is a deal that would be kept and implemented.”

© 2004 Irish Republican News