...in the NEW WORKER
Politicians began arriving at Belfast’s Stormont Castle last Tuesday to make preliminary arrangements for talks on the political future of the occupied Six Counties of northern Ireland. The talks are billed in most of the media as “historic”.
Much is being made of the participation of both unionist and nationalist parties. The Financial Times said: “It is the first time nationalists and unionists have sat at the same table for 15 years”.
The talks will be opened by the British Government’s northern Ireland Secretary Peter Brooke and the Irish Government is expected to take part at a later date.
Speaking at a meeting of Sinn Fein’s Executive Committee, Sinn Fein president and West Belfast MP Gerry Adams said:
“Contrary to media reports and political criticism Sinn Fein is not critical of the current British process simply because we are not involved. If it held out hope of a permanent and peaceful solution we would welcome it.
But we are not naive ... We believe in Irish independence not only for ideological or even patriotic and democratic reasons – it also makes sense.
Partition and British involvement has not worked. It has been a catalyst for conflict. Irish Independence, an end to the British connection, can be a catalyst for peace and justice
This is the stated view of all other Irish political parties except Unionists. This is the basis on which we judge the Brooke process.
Our collective experience persuades republicans that in spite of Brooke’s November speech in which he claimed Britain has no ‘selfish, strategic or economic’ interest in the north, it is in reality Britain which is setting the agenda setting the current political agenda underpinned by a re-affirmation of the Unionist veto”.