Republican News · Thursday 23 July 1998

[An Phoblacht]

Trimble can't have it both ways

David Trimble's attack on Sinn Féin in the House of Commons on Monday is a cause for concern. Trimble made clear his continuing unwillingness to accept Sinn Féin's right to seats on the Six County Executive.

It appears that some Unionists, David Trimble included, have sustained forlorn hopes of renegotiating the Good Friday Agreement. A clear message needs to go out that such hopes must now be abandoned.

David Trimble will have to accept Sinn Féin's right to represent all those who voted for the party, to be in the Six County Assembly, in the Executive and in the All-Ireland Ministerial Council. Sinn Féin should accept no limitations upon the right to exercise its electoral mandate.

David Trimble cannot pose as an upholder of the Agreement and accept the mantle of First Minister while attempting to negate the commitments made in the Agreement to equality of treatment and to the rights of representation.

Conservative and Unionist opposition to aspects of the Northern Ireland Bill in the House of Commons reflects the continuing resistance from those quarters to the development of equal rights and justice. It was significant that David Trimble's deputy John Taylor made clear that he may oppose the Bill.

The Bill, any supplementary legislation abd the British Irish Agreement must accurately reflect the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

The legislation contained in the Bill is an enabling mechanism and should facilitate the delivery of that which was agreed on Good Friday. This goes beyond institutions and covers such issues as equality, justice, Irish language, demilitarisation, political prisoners and policing.

Nationalists and republicans must remain focused on ensuring that this agenda is pursued with vigour in the face of the evident opposition.

The Irish and British governments also have clear responsibilities in upholding the commitments made in the Agreement and in overseeing the smoothest possible transition to a new political scenario.

Support Egin

The Spanish state has now clearly signalled its intention to crush all expression of Basque nationalism. Following from their imprisonment of the entire National Executive of Herri Batasuna comes the closure last week of the daily newspaper, Egin, on foot of allegations that it has financial links with ETA.

It is a directly anti-democratic act of censorship against a major newspaper (Egin has a circulation in the Basque Country similar to that of the Irish News in the Six Counties).

Repression will never crush the spirit of Basque independence and the Spanish government should immediately enter into dialogue to resolve the conflict in the Basque Country.

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