Irish Republican News · March 26, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Parties agree new date for power-sharing
Parties agree new date for power-sharing

Sinn Féin and the DUP have agreed a new deal to start sharing power on May 8 following historic face-to-face talks between DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams at Stormont today.

The meeting between the two parties, lasting an hour, took place in the dining room at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings and came after Assembly speaker Eileen bell postponed a full meeting of the newly-elected Belfast Assembly.

The deal postpones the return of the power-sharing institutions for six weeks, a datge which is expected to be ratified by legislation in the London parliament later today.

Mr Paisley said today’s meeting between the parties represented “an important step” on the road to the setting-up of a power-sharing executive in six weeks’ time.

“Our goal has been to see devolution returned in a context where it can make a real, meaningful improvement in the lives of all the people of this part of the United Kingdom.

“On Saturday, the DUP executive overwhelmingly endorsed a motion committing our party to support and participate fully in government in May of this year - this is a binding resolution.”

Mr Paisley said there would be regular meetings between himself and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness and there would be a programme of work set up between now and the new devolution date.

Welcoming Mr Paisley’s remarks, Gerry Adams said the discussions and agreement between the two parties “shows the potential of what can now be achieved”.

Mr Adams said the basis of the agreement followed from Ian Paisley’s “unequivocal and welcome commitment to support and participate fully in the political institutions” on May 8th.

“It is a time for generosity, a time to be mindful of the common good and of the future of all our people,” said Mr Adams.

“Collectively we have created the potential to build a new, harmonious and equitable relationship between nationalists and republicans and unionists, as well as the rest of the people of the island of Ireland.

“Sinn Féin will take nothing for granted in the days and weeks ahead but we will do all that we can to ensure a successful outcome and we ask everyone to support us in our efforts.”

The following is the full text of Mr Adams’s statement following the conclusion of today’s meeting with the DUP delegation.

“I want to begin my remarks by welcoming the statement by Ian Paisley.

While it is disappointing that the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement have not been restored today, I believe the agreement reached between Sinn Féin and the DUP, including the unequivocal commitment, made by their party Executive and reiterated today, to the restoration of political institutions on May 8th, marks the beginning of a new era of politics on this island.

The discussions and agreement between our two parties shows the potential of what can now be achieved.

Sinn Féin entered into these discussions in a positive and strategic way strengthened by our recently renewed and increased mandate. I want to once again thank everyone who supports our party.

Ta muid buioch daoibh go leir.

In all of the initiatives we have taken in recent times we have been guided by the need to deliver for the people of Ireland. So, in our discussions we have listened very carefully to the position put forward by Ian Paisley and his colleagues.

The relationships between the people of this island have been marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy.

In particular this has been the sad history of orange and green. Ach ta tus nua ann anois le cuidiu De..

Sinn Féin is about building a new relationship between orange and green and all the other colours, where every citizen can share and have equality of ownership of a peaceful, prosperous and just future.

There are still many challenges, many difficulties to be faced. But let us be clear. The basis of the agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP follows Ian Paisley’s unequivocal and welcome commitment to support and participate fully in the political institutions on May 8th.

In the lead up to restoration important work has to take place preparing for government. And you have the outline of that also.

As an immediate step both Sinn Féin and the DUP have asked the British government not to issue the water bills.

Tus maith leath na hoibre. A good start is half the work.

The two governments also have other work to do.

We are committed to, and today discussed, further engagements with the British Chancellor, with the Irish government, and with others to ensure that the incoming Executive has the best possible resources to fulfil our responsibilities.

We have all come a very long way in the process of peace making and national reconciliation.

We are very conscious of the many people who have suffered.

We owe it to them to build the best future possible.

It is a time for generosity, a time to be mindful of the common good and of the future of all our people.

I am pleased to say that collectively we have created the potential to build a new, harmonious and equitable relationship between nationalists and republicans and unionists, as well as the rest of the people of the island of Ireland.

Sinn Féin will take nothing for granted in the days and weeks ahead but we will do all that we can to ensure a successful outcome and we ask everyone to support us in our efforts.”

© 2007 Irish Republican News