Extracts from Speech by Gerry Adams to an Easter Commemoration, Dublin, (8 April 2007)
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Extracts from Speech by Gerry Adams, then President of Sinn Féin, to an Easter Commemoration, Dublin, (8 April 2007)
Celebrate 1916 and make Irish unity a reality
"I am very proud to be here in Dublin today to remember the men and women of 1916 and of every generation since then who died in the fight for Irish freedom. I am glad that the state commemorated the Rising this morning. We have never stopped commemorating it. I hope that as the countdown to the 100th anniversary of 1916 gets closer that we will see events taking place in towns and villages in every county in Ireland. This is a time of great hope in Ireland, of potential particularly on democratic and national objectives. The build up to 2016 should not only be about commemorating 1916. Citizens want to see the Irish government making real preparations for Irish unity. Sinn Fein’s commitment is to ensure that this happens."
A huge opportunity for progress
"This has been a big year for republicans. Today we are shaping history once again. In January tens of thousands of republicans the length and breadth of Ireland were involved in the debate on the way forward on policing. And recent weeks saw the first public meeting between our party and the DUP.
The speed of events since the meeting with Ian Paisley may have taken many by surprise. But the logic of the engagement and its outcome should not surprise republicans.
We got to this point as a result of the peace strategy set out by the Sinn Féin leadership more than a decade ago. This time has seen a move from armed struggle to political negotiations and now political agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP and the recent amicable meeting between Ian Paisley and the Taoiseach.
As far as republicans are concerned it was always going to be down to the people of Ireland coming together to build our own future.
And just as we had a strategy to get political agreement, we have a strategy for the next phase - a roadmap for Irish unity. We must continue to seize the opportunities created by our strategies. We must continue at all times to move forward.
Sinn Féin is about building the Republic. The unionist people have to be as much a part of that as any of the rest of us. People who say different misrepresent what Irish Republicanism is about.
A genuine process of national reconciliation has to happen. Sinn Féin is ready to play our part. I believe that many within the unionist tradition are ready also. The Irish government will have a key role to play. The first step is for the Irish government to start thinking, acting and legislating with an eye to the needs and rights of every citizen on this island. The Irish Nation does not stop at Dundalk. The government here must provide the opportunity for political representatives in the north to participate in the political institutions here in Dublin. And I believe that through time, unionist political parties will join with us.
I believe the logic of the all-Ireland approach in business, in building a single island economy, in delivering public services, in a whole range of areas is not lost on unionism.
There is only one option for Irish republicanism as there is only one option for unionism. We must work together to deliver for all of the people. Nobody else is going to do it for us. The safety blanket for unionists of the British government in London is no longer viable. Unionists have no option but to stand together with the rest of us, agreeing to disagree on issues of contention between us and delivering on all other issues."
Ready for government north and south
"On May 8th the Assembly in the North will be convened. A government jointly led by Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley will be established. Republicans will be exercising real political power. We are already preparing for government. We have announced our five Ministers - Martin McGuinness, Michelle Gildernew, Conor Murphy, Caitríona Ruane and Gerry Kelly - and they have a big job ahead of them.
Sinn Féin has been central to changing the political landscape in the north. We want to extend that record of service nationally and to build an unstoppable momentum for change throughout the whole country.
We are ready for government, north and south. We want to be in government in both parts of Ireland because that is how we can bring about a truly national government. But republicans will not go into government for the sake of it. We will go in to government to deliver for people in ending the two tier health system, in building social and affordable housing, in reducing class sizes, in tackling the scandal of so many young people dying on our roads and through suicide. We will go into government to end poverty. We will go in to make a difference for the better, to end partition and unite the people of this island.
Let me send a clear message of support and solidarity to the nurses. Sinn Fein supports you in your efforts to secure decent terms and conditions. We call upon the government to intervene to bring an end to the current dispute."
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