Gerry Adams: 'The time for excuses in Northern Ireland is over'

A statement made by the West Belfast member of Parliament and President of Sinn Fein in Belfast yesterday, on the prospects of restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland

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Now is the time for all those who are genuinely interested in seeing the power-sharing government in the north restored and the peace process advanced to show leadership and make a real and genuine effort to end the political vacuum.

Last year, despite all of the short-term difficulties and obstacles placed in the way of progress, the IRA looked to the future and took the decision formally to end its armed campaign. They set out their intent to further their objectives by peaceful and democratic means, and in so doing addressed the concerns that unionist leaders had been expressing.

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. 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. And the ordinary people of Ireland are paying a high price for this failure.

The time for excuses is over.

There needs to be a collective effort made to see the political institutions up and running and the other outstanding aspects of the Agreement implemented. And as part of this we need to see an immediate end to the activities of those elements in Britain's intelligence agencies who are working day and night to prevent progress.

Republicans have set out our intentions. We have shown our commitment to the peace process by our words and actions. Others need to do the same.

Sinn Fein is determined that the opportunities presented by the IRA initiative are not squandered. There still are major challenges ahead particularly for both the British government and the unionist parties. The process has been allowed to be stalled for too long and the time for movement has now come.

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