22 December 2005

McDowell Challenged To Familiarise Himself With The Peace Process

Sinn Féin

Published: 21 December, 2005

Responding to remarks from Michael McDowell this evening alleging that Sinn
Féin had climbed down over the issue of OTRs, Sinn Féin Vice President Pat
Doherty MP said that the Minsiter 'should familiarise himself with what was
agreed at Weston Park and the position of the Irish government which clearly
states that the clauses including British Crown Forces was no part of any
deal'.

Mr Doherty said:

" Given Minister McDowell's late entry into the peace process and his
negative approach to it, it is maybe not surprising that he has yet to grasp
the detail of what has been agreed or what has been discussed during
detailed political negotiations.

" However most people with even a cursory knowledge of this process know
that the issue of OTRs was agreed at the Weston Park talks in 2001. That
negotiation did of course involve the Irish government and the Taoiseach.
The Taoiseach has also of course acknowledged in recent weeks both in the
Dail and in the media that the clauses inserting British Crown Forces into
this legislation was not negotiated or agreed at Weston Park or since and it
was a unilateral move by the British government.

" Sinn Féin oppose the inclusion of the British Crown Forces in this
legislation and have over recent weeks attempted to bring the British
government back to the Weston Park deal. Given the fact that it has now
become clear that the British government are refusing to honour that
agreement we have called on them to withdraw the legislation. This is not a
climb down, it is entirely consistent with our approach all along and
consistent with our efforts over decades to reveal the true nature of the
British State in Ireland and their involvement in the murder of citizens
north and south.

" Michael McDowell would be better served spending the Christmas period
familiarising himself with the detail of the peace process if he intends to
play any sort of constructive role in the effort to see the political
institutions put back in place early in the new year rather than issuing the
sort of ill-informed and baseless statements to which we have become
familiar in recent years." ENDS


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