29/01/2007

Ard Fheis vote to support policing

Following yesterday's Sinn Fein special conference in Dublin regarding the party's policy on policing, Sinn Fein has voted in favour of becoming involved in policing in Northern Ireland.

The decision was reached during the meeting, which was held in the RDS.

The motion was finally passed, with approximately 90% of Sinn Fein members voting in favour of changing their current policy on policing and enabling the current political process in Northern Ireland to be able to move forward.

Speaking after the meeting, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said: “This has been one of the most important debates in the recent history of our country and of Irish republicanism.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to it.

“The decision we have taken today is truly historic. Its significance will be in how we use this decision to move our struggle forward. We have created the potential to change the political landscape of this island for ever. We have created the opportunity to significantly advance our primary objective of a United Ireland through the building of greater political strength.

“Now it is up to each of us at this Ard Fheis, and to the thousands of other republicans watching our deliberations today, to build on today's positive outcome.

“Of course, building political strength won't happen by chance. It will require hard work and dedication.

“As I listened to today's debate, listened to the scores of contributions, and as I look around this hall now I am confirmed in my confidence that Sinn Féin has the commitment, the talent and ability, the determination and vision to build a New Ireland.”

Mr Adams continued by again offering to meet with the leadership of other republican organisations who are opposed to Sinn Féin's peace strategy to allow them to put forward alternative strategies and allow him to explain the analysis and the rationale behind our strategy.

He also appealed to unionists to encourage their political leaders to engage in open debate with Sinn Féin, and to unionist political leaders to take up that challenge and to engage in dialogue to help the process move beyond the current impasse.

Mr Adams concluded: “As we go from here, united, we also need to give space to everyone who has concerns or reservations about today's huge decision. The debate does not finish here. It continues - as our struggle continues.

“And the debate needs to include not just the issue of policing but all other aspects of contemporary Irish society and the republican vision for a better Ireland, a new Ireland - an Ireland of Equals.

“We are back here for our regular Ard Fheis in a month's time and the year after that and the next year - bigger, stronger, bolder building political strength and building the new Republic. In the meantime let's take the next wee phase nice and calmly. Let's not be upset by how others respond to today's decision.

“Remember the higher they build their barriers the stronger we become. Let's keep our strategic and primary objectives as our compass in the time ahead.”

(EF/SP)

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