Statement by Gerry Adams (SF) on the agreement with the DUP of a date for devolved government in Northern Ireland, (26 March 2007)
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Statement by Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin, on the agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of a date for devolved government in Northern Ireland, (26 March 2007)
"I want to begin my remarks by welcoming the statement by Ian Paisley.
And while it is disappointing that the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement have not been restored today, I believe the agreement reached between Sinn Féin and the DUP, including the unequivocal commitment, made by their party Executive and reiterated today, to the restoration of political institutions on May 8th, marks the beginning of a new era of politics on this island.
The discussions and agreement between our parties shows the potential of what can now be achieved.
Sinn Fein entered into these discussions in a positive and strategic way strengthened by our recently renewed and increased mandate. And I want to once again thank everyone who supports our party. Tá muid buíoch daoibh go léir.
In all of the initiatives we have taken in recent times we have been guided by the need to deliver for the people of Ireland. So, in our discussions we have listened very carefully to the position put forward by Ian Paisley and his colleagues.
The relationships between the people of this island have been marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy. In particular this has been the sad history of orange and green. Ach tá tús nua ann anois, le cuidiu Dé. Now there's a new start, with the help of God.
Sinn Féin is about building a new relationship between orange and green and all the other colours, where every citizen can share and have equality of ownership of a peaceful, prosperous and just future.
There are still many challenges, there are still many difficulties to be faced. But let us be clear. The basis of the agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP follows Ian Paisley's unequivocal and welcome commitment to support and participate fully in the political institutions on May 8th.
In the lead up to restoration important work has to take place preparing for government. And you have the outline of that also.
As an immediate step both Sinn Féin and the DUP have asked the British government not to issue the water bills.
Tús maith leath na hoibre. A good start is half the work.
But both governments have also other work to do.
We are committed to, and today discussed, further engagements with the British Chancellor, with the Irish government, and with others to ensure that the incoming Executive has the best possible resources to fulfil our responsibilities.
We have all come a very long way in the process of peace-making and national reconciliation. We are very conscious of the many people who have suffered. We owe it to them to build the best future possible.
It is a time for generosity, a time to be mindful of the common good and of the future of all our people.
I am pleased to say that collectively we have created the potential to build a new, harmonious and equitable relationship between nationalists and republicans and unionists, and all of the rest of the people of the island of Ireland.
Sinn Fein will take nothing for granted in the days and weeks ahead but we will do all that we can to ensure a successful outcome and we ask everyone to support us all in our efforts. Sin é. "
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