Week in Review 18-25 February 2015

Sinn Fein
Week in Review
18-25 February 2015

Next election `a choice between Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government’Adams
On 21 February Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams said the next election in the south would be `a choice between a Fine Gael or Sinn Féin-led Government with very different visions for Irish society’.
Gerry Adams was commenting after a speech made by the Taoiseach, which he said `failed to address the growing polarisation in our society under Fine Gael and Labour and [had] no new vision for the future’. He said Fine Gael Ministers, at their Ard Fheis, had revealed `unbridled arrogance’ and were `entirely insulated from the effects of their policies’, and the party `no longer has any mandate for the socially destructive agenda it is imposing’.
He also said it was `notable that the Taoiseach barely mentioned the North in the course of his address… because he views the North as a foreign country’. Mr Adams criticised the Taoiseach for having `shamefully allied himself with the British Tories’ at the recent Stormont House talks, which he said, achieved agreement `not because of this Fine Gael-led Government’.
The next election would be `a choice between a Fine Gael-led or Sinn Féin-led Government’ which Mr Adams said was `a choice between two diametrically opposed visions for Irish society’.
Fine Gael’s way meant `further inequality, the continued pursuit of austerity with a continuation of cuts and charges aimed at low and middle income families, the destruction of public services including health, downward pressure on workers’ wages and conditions, further attacks on rural Ireland and continued mass emigration’, he added.
He said Sinn Féin’s way meant `growing our economy out of recession, a recovery for all, real jobs with proper terms and conditions, decent public services accessible to all, including those in rural Ireland, and the building of a United Ireland and a citizen-centred, rights-based society’.
He concluded: `rather than making speeches defending his record in the face of growing public opposition, Enda Kenny should call an election now and let the people decide which future they prefer.’

Pat Doherty reiterates Finucane inquiry calls at Westminster event.Doherty
On 23-24 February Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty was in London for a round of meetings across the political parties. He also joined a meeting in Westminster which marked the 26th year since the killing of solicitor Pat Finucane, hosted by Rights Watch and Baroness Helena Kennedy, and with members of the Finucane family speaking.
Mr Doherty strongly backed the calls at the meeting for a full public inquiry into the case. He said that in 2001 at the Weston Park agreement British and Irish governments had agreed an inquiry into the murder, `yet the British government has refused to implement the Weston Park agreement with the tacit support of the Irish Government’.
He said it was `apt that the campaign for justice for Pat Finucane is brought to the very place where the policy of collusion was instigated and that the Pat Finucane story is told’.
He commended the organisers for holding the meeting and paid tribute to the family `for their dignity and courage in pursuing truth and justice for Pat Finucane.’ He said that collusion was so deeply rooted in the British state that it was a `fundamental issue’ and therefore moves to hold a truly full and independent inquiry would continue to be met with resistance.
The meeting also welcomed the British Labour Party’s commitment to hold an inquiry, should they be in Government after the next elections, but stressed the need to ensure this commitment was upheld and on the vital necessity to keep up public pressure in both the run up to, and after, May.

Agreement can be a `catalyst for reconciliation’Kearney
Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney urged new political and community relationships in order to achieve genuine reconciliation.
Speaking at a reconciliation event in east Belfast, Mr Kearney said the recent Stormont House Agreement created `a new political context’ which `has opened up the opportunity for a new phase of the peace process to be developed based on reconciliation’.
He said there was a need for `new political and human relationships based on trust and respect’. Failure to agree on the past `must not be allowed to hold back the future’, he said.
Calling for a `public discourse on reconciliation, free from recrimination, and based on mutual respect, driven from within the democratic process and civic society’, the Sinn Fein chair said this could be `an initiative of common acknowledgement from all sides for the pain caused by, and against each other, could make a powerful contribution to forgiveness and healing.’
The recent Agreement could establish the frameworks `to assist in dealing with the past and facilitating discussion on the issues that divide our society’, he said.
He said that the two governments were `a co-equal guarantor for this Agreement and its implementation’ and that there needed `full commitment of all parties and governments’ alongside all sections of civic society.
He called on `political, civic, community and church leaders.. to work jointly on a strategy which ensures the process of reconciliation is embedded in society.’

Inclusive dialogue key to resolving contentious parades – KellyKelly
On 20 February Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said inclusive dialogue was `key’ to resolving contentious parades on North Belfast.
Speaking after Teresa Villiers called for fresh efforts to resolve issues around a contentious Orange march through nationalist Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales, Gerry Kelly said that Sinn Féin had been `consistent in promoting dialogue and discussions as the only way to find a resolution to this contentious North Belfast parade’.
Discussion must be `open and without preconditions or predetermined outcomes’, he said, adding that the example from other areas had shown that `talking is the only way to resolve such issues’.
He said Sinn Fein were `committed to finding a solution through local dialogue and encourage others to adopt the same approach.’

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