Home World USA Memorial Mass for Martin McGuinness in Washington, D.C.

Memorial Mass for Martin McGuinness in Washington, D.C.

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 By Sabina Clarke

On Tuesday, July 25th there was a Memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Church in the nation’s Capitol for former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness.  Among the attendees were McGuinness’ sons Emmet and Fiachra accompanied by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Afterward, Adams met with the Congressional Friends of Ireland on Capitol Hill and the State Department to discuss the current impasse in the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

In a statement Adams said, “I told both the Congressional Friends of Ireland Committee and the State Department that Sinn Fein is fully committed to the restoration of the political institutions but that this must be on a sustainable basis. The institutions have to work for everyone. They must be based on respect, integrity and equality.”

He said “the Irish and British governments have a key role to play in re-establishing the institutions, especially given that many of the rights issues are outstanding from the Good Friday and subsequent agreements.”

He  also assured them that “Sinn Féin is determined that in any future negotiation progress must be made on Irish language rights, marriage equality, the Bill of Rights, legacy matters and anti-sectarian measures.”

Adams also talked about his   upcoming meeting with the British Secretary of State James Brokenshire and  the imperative on his government to honour its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement and  their refusal  to honour commitments it made in the Stormont House Agreement on legacy three years ago.

“In particular,” he said, “the British government has denied the inquest courts and the Police Ombudsman’s office the funding they need to fulfil their legal responsibilities. It has stymied the proposal by the Lord Chief Justice, Declan Morgan, for dealing with the inquests that have yet to take place relating to 97 deaths. Many of these deaths go back decades.”

Regarding legacy issues Adams pointed out that the British Secretary of State said that his government would now consult on the legacy proposals—in an effort, Adams said is intended to sideline legacy issues. He called this a “cynical ploy to delay implementing the legacy proposals.”

Adams also discussed the issue of Brexit with the congressional leaders and State department and  its implications for the Good Friday Agreement and the two economies on the island of Ireland.

Previously, Adams outlined his proposal for the best way to defend the Good Friday Agreement, and ensure that the two economies on the island are protected by urging that the North  be assigned special status within the EU as this is the only way in which the majority vote of citizens in the North to remain in the EU can be respected.”

 

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