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Statement by Martin McGuinness (SF) about the Agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers, (5 February 2010)

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Text: Martin McGuinness ... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Martin McGuinness, then Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator, about the Agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers, (5 February 2010)


Speaking at Hillsborough this morning at the announcement of a deal on the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to the North of Ireland Sinn Féin MP and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said:

"Cuirim fáilte roimh an Taoiseach, Príomh Aire na Breataine agus na páirtí uilig.

I am very pleased that we have concluded this agreement with the DUP. As everyone knows this has been a difficult negotiation. This is hardly a surprise given the reality that I am an Irish Republican and others here have a completely different view. I believe in a united Ireland. They want to maintain the union with England.

This should not mean that we are incapable of respecting each other, of treating one another as equals and proceeding on the basis of partnership, respect, fairness and equality. I am utterly determined to continue to work in good faith and with a good heart with my unionist colleagues. I want to work in harmony with Peter Robinson for the good of the entire community.

That is what Sinn Féin is about. We signed up for agreements on Good Friday and at St. Andrews and here today. We proceed on the basis of implementing these commitments.

We have agreed that the transfer of policing and justice powers to our power sharing government will happen on April 12th. We have agreed and put in place a process which will see the powers which oversee parades transfer to our administration before the end of this year.

We have agreed a process to progress the rights of Irish Language speakers and North/South aspects of the St. Andrews Agreement. Sinn Féin are in these political institutions to deliver for everyone. That’s what Sinn Féin Ministers and MLAs are here to do. I am a Minister for all citizens.

We are also agreed on the need to deliver for our community, it is what they expect. There are families and children living in poverty; elderly people feeling vulnerable and in fear. There are young families burdened by massive mortgages and in fear of losing their homes; people without jobs.

Our government needs to reach out to these people. It needs to deliver. We need to confront and defeat all kinds of hatred. With determined and courageous leadership we must continue to lead that shrinking minority out of the trenches of the past. In this I am confident we can be assured of the support of the vast majority of our people. We need to make life better for all our children and grandchildren.

That is what this agreement must mean in practice. Fully functioning political institutions operated for the people in true partnership and equality. Let us now all face into the future with confidence in ourselves and in the people who elect us."


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