15 September 2005

Sinn Féin News

Sinn Féin

Alex Maskey announces outreach event with unionist community

Published: 15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA for South Belfast Alex Maskey has today announced an outreach event with panel members from the unionist community, representing church, civic, and political opinion. Mr Maskey said the event was 'particularly timely given last weeks events cross the North'.

The event entitled: 'Towards National Reconciliation' is part of Sinn Féin's Cead Bliain celebrations (100th Year), and will be held in the Conway Mill, Falls Road this Saturday (17th September) from 11am to 1pm.

Speaking today Mr Maskey said:

"Saturday's event represents the start of a programme of events across the six counties to widen the process of dialogue between republicans and the broad unionist community. Given the events of the past week this conference is particularly timely.

"I am pleased to announce that the panel will consist of Dawn Purvis from the PUP, Rev. Lesley Carroll, Convener of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Trevor Ringland, Chair of the One Small Step Campaign. I think that it is important that local nationalists and republicans hear at firsthand the range of views provided by the panel.

"Sinn Féin is about engaging and reaching out to others, including the unionist and ethnic minority communities. We will not move forward or make political progress without real and meaningful dialogue." ENDS


Paisley in denial

Published: 15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness has expressed disappointment over Ian Paisley's attack on party president Gerry Adams and accused the DUP leader of compounding the negative leadership of recent months and being in denial about his responsibility to get the peace process back on track.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Ian Paisley's attack on Gerry Adam's only serves to highlight how deeply in denial the leadership of unionism is about it's responsibility for the Loyalist sectarian campaign of the summer and the violence of recent days.

"Last weekend's violence is a response to the realisation that the status quo is not an option and to the uncertainties of a process of change which demands equality, human rights, proper policing, justice and inclusion. It is a response to the dawning reality that the days of domination, triumphalism and second class citizenships are gone forever.

"This is compounded by the negative approach of the DUP and UUP.

"The unease and instability in unionist communities stems from a political vacuum created by unionist politicians and now filled by loyalist violence. Ian Paisley and his colleagues are running out of excuses." ENDS


Sinn Féin appointees to Long Kesh Panel

Published: 15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney and Lisburn Councillor Paul Butler have been appointed to the Long Kesh Advisory Panel. Today the two representatives are meeting with the Strategic Investment Board and officials taking forward the master plan.

In a joint statement after the meeting Cllr Butler and Mr McCartney MLA said:

"This site has huge potential. However, Sinn Fein will not support any development plan that does not give equal priority to the development of a heritage and peace zone and a multi-sports stadium.

"Events in Long Kesh have helped shape the recognition and understanding of the political nature of the conflict here. It has witnessed much grief and pain for all those who passed through it and for their families and relatives.

"The international heritage and peace zone can act as a beacon of hope to all communities and societies emerging from political conflict and support the process of conflict resolution both nationally and internationally.

"However, we are still a long way from securing the end product. We still need to see the detail about how the development will be resourced and we need to see ongoing political will from all sides to see this development through to completion." ENDS


Anger as UUP and DUP vote for school bus cuts

Published: 15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Michael Ferguson MLA has said that DUP and UUP elected representatives on the SEELB are short changing parents and children after they voted against a Sinn Fein motion at today's board meeting calling for the reversal of cuts to school transport provision in the area. The vote was lost by 12 to 15 with 4 abstentions.

Mr Ferguson said:

"The actions of the UUP and DUP today are a huge disappointment. They have let down the parents and children who they purport to represent. Both parties said that they would defend education services yet when push comes to shove they have failed to defend this important service for local parents and their children.

"This is a blow particularly for working parents.

"If the UUP and DUP had found it in themselves to back this Sinn Fein motion today we would have achieved a major progress in fighting the cuts to services." ENDS

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