Full text of statement by Gerry Adams
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams addressed reporters ater the party’s ard chomhairle meeting in Dublin today. Below is the full text of his statement:
"Mar is eol daoibh uilig, fuair Martin Mc Guinness cuireadh ó Co-operation Ireland a bheith i láthair ag ócáid i mBéal Feirste an tseachtain seo chugainn chun na healaíonn agus an cultúr ar fud na hÉireann a cheiliúradh.
"As you all know Martin McGuinness has received an invitation from Co-operation Ireland to attend an event in Belfast next week to celebrate the arts and culture across Ireland.
"The Co-operation Ireland event will also be attended by the President of Ireland, the Queen of England and by First Minister Peter Robinson.
"It is unconnected with the Jubilee.
"Mar go gciallaíonn seo go gcasfaí Martin Mc Guinness le banríon na Breataine beidh seo iontach deacair ag Poblachtaigh agus ar Náisiúnaithe a d’fhulaing faoi lámha fhórsaí na Breataine in Éirinn thar na blianta.
"Because this involves Martin meeting the British monarch this will cause difficulty for Republicans and nationalists who have suffered at the hands of British forces in Ireland over many decades.
"However, in the context of conflict resolution and national reconciliation, as well as our own republican national objectives, the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle agreed that Martin should accept the invitation.
"This is a significant initiative involving major political and symbolic challenges for Irish republicans.
"As the record of the peace process demonstrates Irish republicans have frequently been prepared to take bold and historic initiatives and risks for peace to break stalemates and find agreements.
"Is Sinn Féin páirtí Poblachtach Éireannach agus is Ath aontú na hÉireann agus neamhspleachas na hÉireann ár príomh chuspóir polaitiúil.
"Sinn Fein is an Irish republican party whose primary political objective is the re-unification and independence of Ireland.
"We have a coherent and viable strategy for the achievement of these democratic objectives, including the end of partition and unifying the people of this island through a genuine process of national reconciliation and transformation.
"So, Sinn Féin is about nation building.
"Sinn Féin is for an Ireland of Equals in which there is space for everyone and for all identities.
"An Ireland in which all our citizens can live comfortably and in harmony and mutual respect.
"Sinn Féin is for a new dispensation in which a citizen can be Irish and unionist.
"Where one can also claim Britishness and be comfortable on this island.
"Poblacht Nua ina bhfuil Glas agus Oraiste aontaithe - Sin í an fís atá againne.
"Our vision of a new Republic is one in which the Orange and Green unite in a cordial union.
"Today’s decision reflects a confident, dynamic, forward looking Sinn Féin demonstrating our genuine desire to embrace our unionist neighbours.
It reflects the equality and parity of esteem arrangements which are now in place.
"Tuigim go mbeidh an cinneadh seo crua agus an-deacair ag daoine, go háirithe ag íobartaigh fhorasaí na Breataine in Éirinn.
"I accept that this decision will cause genuine and understandable difficulties for some people, not least some of the victims of the British crown forces in Ireland.
"It is clear that legacy issues have to be dealt with and Sinn Féin will continue to engage in that work.
"Today’s decision is the right thing to do at the right time and for the right reasons.
"I ask all Sinn Féin members and all republicans to support this initiative.
"I would urge everyone, everywhere on this island to take ownership of our future.
"The people of this island deserve the very best society that can be created.
"I believe this initiative it will contribute in a symbolic yet significant way to this necessary work."