Mandelson spins out of control
Bruton parrots unionist line
BY SEAN BRADY
This week marks the second anniversary of the Good Friday
Agreement, which was designed to change the face of politics on this
island and provide a route map out of conflict. Since then, however,
the Agreement has been breached in spirit and in letter. The
institutions provided for under the Agreement were allowed to survive
for just eight weeks before being unceremoniusly binned by a British
Secrtary of State acting on the orders of the Ulster Unionist Party.
There has been no tangible progress on policing, justice, human
rights, or the demilitarsation of the Six Counties. Last week, 20 Sinn
Féin councillors were told that they are being targeted by
Following two years of loyalist gun and
bomb attacks against the nationalist community, continued
militarisation and harassment by the British Army of the nationalist
community, the active targeting of republicans for assassination, and
the breaching of the Agreement by the British government, it is indeed
remarkable that the IRA cessation remains in place.
Meanwhile, the British government continues to mismanage the peace
process. A resolution of the current crisis will not come from an
approach built on hope or wishful thinking and claims by British
Direct Ruler Peter Mandelson of an imminent breakthrough in the
process before Easter are over optimistic and amount to another piece
of Mandelsonian spin.
What is needed is positive action. Mandelson needs to undo the
damage he caused by collapsing the institutions. He can do this by
reinstating them immediately.
Speaking at Stormont on Monday, 10 April, the Agreement's second
anniversary, Sinn Féin North Belfast Assembly member Gerry
Kelly said: ``Today, instead of celebrating the progress which the
Good Friday Agreement should have made by now, the reality is that the
process is at its lowest and most dangerous point in years.
``The responsibility for this lies firmly with the British
government. It has singularly failed to defend the integrity of the
Agreement and has instead conceded to the Ulster Unionist Party the
ability to veto progress.
``We don't want empty rhetoric from Mr Mandelson, we want the
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the re-establishment
of the institutions which he tore down.''
Sinn Féin Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin said on Thursday
that, at present, claims by British Direct Ruler in the North Peter
Mandelson of an imminent breakthrough in the stalled peace process
before Easter appeared to be optimistic.
Meanwhile, comments by Fine Gael leader John Bruton on Monday that
Peter Mandelson was correct to suspend the Good Friday institutions
are outrageous, particularly coming from the leader of the second
party in the 26 Counties. Responding, Sinn Féin Chairperson
Mitchel McLaughlin said that Bruton ``needs to remember that more than
two million Irish people voted for the setting up of these
institutions - not for one British politician to pull them down''.
McLaughlin was speaking in Dublin at the first meeting of Sinn
Féin's Ard Chomhairle, newly elected by the party's Ard Fheis
at the weekend.
McLaughlin said the Good Friday Agreement is the template for
progress. ``Not only do we have to get David Trimble back to that
template but now it appears we have to get Peter Mandelson back to it