Deal with DUP cannot be done at the expense of GFA – Sinn Féin

The President of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams has once again stressed his party’s commitment to the principles enshrined within the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking at the start of yet another week of intensive negotiations with the Irish and British governments on breaking the current deadlock, Gerry Adams said there could not be a deal between ‘rejectionist unionism’ and the GFA.

“It is not possible to say whether there will or will not be a comprehensive agreement arising out of the current negotiations. We will know in the next few weeks,” Gerry Adams told the Andersonstown News on Sunday.

“However it is important to remember that there cannot be a compromise between rejectionist unionism and the Good Friday Agreement. Nor about the principles of equality, partnership, the all-Ireland structures and the institutionalised power sharing.”

After an unfruitful round of talks at Leeds Castle in Kent during September, the two strongest political parties, Sinn Féin and the DUP have been submerged in yet another timeline for resolution of the suspended institutions.

Last Wednesday the British and Irish Governments put their proposals to the DUP and Sinn Féin. This includes the possibility of a so called ‘peace dividend’ of around £1 billion given to the executive should they decide to go back to Stormont. This money is to be pumped into areas of deprivation and addressing inequality on both sides, sources have claimed.

“Negotiations aren't just a matter of taking. It's also about giving,” the Sinn Féin party leader said on Sunday.

“Thus far the DUP have given nothing. It may be in the week or so ahead that this will change. They may come to a position where they declare that they will share power with Sinn Féin. The focus of Sinn Féin's efforts at this time is to get the DUP to do just that.

“We are also trying to ensure that the governments' proposals do not weaken any aspect of the principles of the Agreement and that they help and not hinder its delivery.

“Sinn Féin has a proven record of working the institutions. We want a comprehensive agreement with both governments and with unionism.
“However, we have also told the two governments that if the DUP is not prepared to join with the rest of us, it is both necessary and legitimate to identify other options for securing the principles of the Agreement. This includes joint responsibility for the areas of government, which would otherwise have been administered on a power-sharing basis.

“There has been enormous progress over the past 10 years. Sinn Féin wants that progress to continue. That means political unionism joining us in this historic enterprise. Does that mean diluting the Good Friday Agreement? It does not. Unionists have expressed other concerns about republican intentions and that is a different matter. Within reason there is a duty on us to try, if we can, to remove those fears without undermining our electoral rights or our mandate.

“But there is also a duty on political unionism to face up to its responsibilities. The next week or so will clarify whether their leaders are prepared to do that at this time.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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