03 January 2006

Devolution 'needs genuine effort'


Politicians must make a genuine effort to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly, Gerry Adams has said.

The Sinn Fein president said there were major challenges ahead - particularly for the government and unionists.

In a statement, the DUP MP Iris Robinson said there would be no return to the failed structures of the past.

She said: "The structures of the Belfast Agreement did not provide good government for the people of Northern Ireland."

She added: "The DUP will not be settling for second best in our efforts to secure durable devolution that is free from the taints of terrorism and criminality.

"No amount of SDLP whinging will deter us from pursuing what is in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland and ensuring Northern Ireland is strengthened within the union."

Mr Adams said the IRA's announcement in July that it was abandoning its armed struggle addressed the concerns outlined by unionist leaders.

"As the months have passed, it is easy to lose sight of the enormity of what took place and the opportunity that it has opened up," he said.

"But I would ask people to look to 2006 with hope and confidence that progress can be made. Now is the time for those in political leadership to do our job.

"We are elected by the people in the expectation that we will work on their behalf, not to be members of a political institution that hasn't functioned in over three years."

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