Adams address to transitional Assembly

The text of the address by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking at Friday’s meeting of the transitional Assembly, when he nominated Martin McGuinness for the position of Deputy First Minister.

Ta athas orm mo chara Mairtin Mac Aonghusa a cheapadh don phost seo mar Leas Chead Aire. I am very pleased to nominate my friend Martin McGuinness for the position of Deputy First Minister.

I agree with Ian Paisley that today is an important day. It is the beginning of a transitional assembly and by our presence here today we have agreed to that.

Today’s event must also be seen as part of a process. Of course, like Mr. Paisley, I too believe that we face great challenges in the months ahead.

I believe that all of the parties in this chamber and the two governments, if we stay focused and working together, we can succeed in overcoming these challenges.

We have a lot in common.

We all want peace and justice for our families and children.

And all of us are meeting here today as equals.

We also share a common view, despite our political differences, that British direct rule is bad rule. Our people deserve better.

On social and economic issues, on health, education, poverty, water charges and rates - these are the big issues which people want to see their locally accountable politicians, take responsibility for.

We, here, have the opportunity to bring back sensible government, as well as the all-Ireland institutions.

The DUP say that they have difficulties sharing power with republicans.

I can tell you that many, many nationalists and republicans are concerned at the prospect of Sinn Féin sharing power with the DUP.

But this is a challenge that we must rise to and face together. That is what being in leadership is all about.

I am also very conscious here today of the hurt felt by protestants and unionists. I am equally conscious of the hurt felt by nationalists and republicans at what occurred over many years.

No-one has a monopoly on suffering. No-one in this chamber can build a hierarchy of victims. No-one can in this chamber can absolve themselves of responsibility to build a new and shared future for all our people.

We all have to accept our share of responsibility for what occurred.

As Irish republicans we look to that great protestant patriot - Theobald Wolfe Tone who sought the unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

And Martin McGuinness will be a champion for equality, fairness and justice for all our people.

With goodwill and confidence we can create the space in which all of the issues of difference, whether it is on power sharing or policing, can be satisfactorily dealt with.

None of the difficulties facing us are insurmountable.

Today is another day in the inch by inch process of putting the political institutions back in place.

But it is crucial that everyone understand that today is part of a process. That it is not a stand alone event and that progress is required in the short time ahead.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News