Governments accused of bid to stop Sinn Féin

05/03/2005 - 12:43:51

The British and Irish governments were today accused of stalling the Northern Ireland peace process to hamper political gains by Sinn Féin.

Party chairman Mitchel McLaughlin told delegates at his annual conference that the party remained committed to rebuilding the peace process by political dialogue involving everybody.

“The peace process has been put in deep freeze by the two governments while they concentrate on stopping the Sinn Féin advance.

“Sinn Féin will rebuild the process and deliver the real peace that people are entitled to.”

Mr McLaughlin was speaking on a series of motions on the Northern Ireland peace process on the second day of the annual conference in Dublin.

Sinn Féin's Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald accused opponents of the party of playing political games in recent weeks but said it must end.

As the party dealt with allegations that republicans carried out the £26.5m (€38m) Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Belfast father of two Robert McCartney, she said: “Playing for electoral advantage or cheap political point scoring must be satisfied in the interests of the process.

“Political grandstanding is no substitute for solid work and political progress.

“Dublin must recommit itself to an inclusive dialogue and negotiation.”

The Sinn Féin MEP said her party was committed to the complete disarmament of all groups involved in the Irish conflict.

“This is at the heart of the peace process,” she told Sinn Féin delegates. “To provide a political pathway out of conflict and into an era of justice and equality in Ireland.

“And when Sinn Féin say armed groups, we mean all armed groups – British, unionist/loyalist and republican.

“The December deal held out the possibility of the putting of all IRA weapons beyond use in a matter of weeks.

“This was a brave and historic offer – one that must be matched by others.”

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