Rejectionism should be overcome - SF

If the Good Friday Agreement is not defended the British and Irish governments must move on over the heads of anti-agreement parties, Sinn Féin said at the weekend.

Speaking in Dublin, Martin McGuinness said it was vital that the Good Friday Agreement was supported and not undermined, in the course of the upcoming review.

He said Sinn Féin was prepared to listen to what the DUP had to say but that the priority must be to defend the progress made over the last 10 years.

``There is obviously going to be an exploration of the DUP's position in the coming weeks and we will listen very carefully to what Ian Paisley is saying,'' he said.

``We have made it absolutely clear that we want to talk to the DUP just as we have spoken to all unionist representatives in the past.

``Logically, what we now need to see is the contingency plan approach.''

But the Mid Ulster MP said if it emerges that the DUP's position is still to ``wreck'' the Good Friday Agreement and that they remain dedicated to the destruction of the institution, action would have to be taken.

``There will be an absolutely massive responsibility for the British and Irish governments and the pro-agreement parties to move ahead, and move ahead over the heads of unionist, rejectionist extremists who are bent on the destruction of all of the work that we have been engaged in over the course of the last ten years,'' he said.

``We will not under any circumstances allow that to happen and the DUP need to take account of that.''

He reiterated that there were only 34 members of the Northern Ireland As-sembly opposed to the agreement and that the 74 in favour of it represented a very strong and powerful hand.

``Why should we allow the Reverend Ian Paisley and the unionist extremists that he leads to overturn an agreement that has been endorsed overwhelmingly by all of the citizens of this island?,'' he asked.

``That cannot be allowed to happen and in the course of the review we will deal with all of these matters.''

Mr McGuinness added that he would be shocked and surprised if British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern allowed the DUP to destroy the progress made in the last ten years.

``What we want to see is the restoration of the power-sharing institutions - the all-Ireland institutions - and the British government lifting the illegal suspension of the agreement,'' he said.

``We also want to see human rights and equality commissions supported and developed further and recognition of the need for a representative, accountable policing service under the control of a local administration in the north,'' he said.

The review of the Good Friday Agreement is expected to begin by the end of the month.

  • Ian Paisley led a `Never on a Sunday' protest in Belfast yesterday as thousands of rugby fans watched a first round European Cup match involving the local Ulster team. The veteran hardliner leader joined members of the Free Presbyterian Church to protest the holding of sports events on the Sabbath.
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