By Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams
(for the Irish News)
There has been enormous progress across Irish society over the last 10 years. There has been a political transformation, which many people thought was not possible.
In this election Sinn Féin is asking the electorate to defend the agreement, to give their first preference to Sinn Féin candidates and to transfer to Sinn Féin candidates. We are asking you to return Sinn Féin First or Deputy First Minister and to maximise nationalist representation.
In this election we can make history.
Republicans took huge risks for peace. We need you to endorse our work. Our electoral support makes a difference.
The strength of Sinn Féin's electoral support has made that difference. It delivers. For decades others failed to deliver change. They engaged in endless talks about talks. In our local councils, before Sinn Féin arrived, others accepted inequality, discrimination and second class citizenship, Sinn Féin councillors did not. They confronted the bigots. They delivered change right across the six counties.
In September 1997 Sinn Féin entered the negotiations. By April 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was achieved. Since then we have continued to negotiate to see this agreement implemented.
When others gave up, Sinn Féin did not. We demanded and secured commitments from the British government on policing, demilitarisation, Irish language, equality and human rights.
Sinn Féin also initiated an unprecedented dialogue with unionism to overcome difficulties and divisions. We will return to this dialogue after the election. Sinn Féin is a problem solving party.
Of course there have been difficulties including a failure on the part of other parties to uphold their commitments and attempts by those opposed to change to undermine the whole agreement. The Good Friday Agreement must be implemented in full. Negotiations after the elections will therefore be crucial.
Sinn Féin will stand up to those who are opposed to change. We will refuse to let the governments off the hook and insist that they stand by the agreement. We will settle for nothing less than equality and justice.
The electorate has backed Sinn Féin in growing numbers making us the third largest party on the island. Nationalists are voting for Sinn Féin in greater numbers because Sinn Féin is delivering change. The DUP and rejectionists also know this. That is why they have made Sinn Féin a central plank of their campaign.
The strongest response to the DUP is a strong vote for Sinn Féin. The Good Friday Agreement will not be renegotiated.
In this election we are asking people to endorse our work and to vote and transfer to Sinn Féin to enable us to return to the negotiations stronger, able to achieve more.
With your support we can maximise nationalist representation, ensure that we have equality for nationalists in the assembly and the executive, and ensure that the 50:50 division of ministries is maintained.
Ta Sinn Féin, an t-aon phairti uile-Eireann, ag obair chuig aontacht agus neamhspleachas na hEireann agus lanfheidhmiu Chomhaontu Aoine an Cheasta.
A vote for Sinn Féin in this election is a vote for the peace process. It is an endorsement of our role in that process.
It is a vote for equality in our political institutions, investment in public services, tackling the crisis in rural communities, ending child poverty and in bringing an end to years of structural inequality in many urban and rural communities and West of the Bann.
A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for a new Ireland, a free, united and independent Ireland. It is a vote for change.
A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for strong leadership that delivers change and equality. A vote for Sinn Féin is a vote for the future.