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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Reaction to NI devolution plan
Politicians give their verdicts on the two governments' plan to restore devolution to Northern Ireland, including a 24 November deadline to set up a power-sharing executive.

PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR

"If the parties really can't find a way forward, we have to call a halt and find a different way forward.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair says the time has come for NI parties to make a decision

So the moment comes, as we always knew it would, for the ultimate decision.

This is a framework that only works if the parties choose to use it for proof of good faith, not to themselves and their own community but to the community of the other

Above all, this is a moment to let the process be governed not by suspicion but by the faith that the other does want this to succeed.

I don't say suspicions will not still be there. Just don't let them prevail, to the exclusion of the basic truth: people do want this to work."

TAOISEACH BERTIE AHERN

I don't look at the end date of this.

Bertie Ahern
Plan is "start of a process", Bertie Ahern says

In fact, I look at this as a start of a process. I do not want on 24 November to be thinking about another plan.

I would love it to happen very quickly before that date but, whenever, I hope we will see the restoration of accountable institutions in Northern Ireland with politicians back in the lead position.

Of course, because we are the custodians of the (Good Friday) agreement and have the responsibility to bring that forward, if that doesn't work we have to take responsibility.

The challenge now is to finish the job. We believe that this is possible and that is why we are here today."

DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY LEADER IAN PAISLEY

"In any talks or negotiations our decisions will be based solely on our manifesto commitments and not on anyone's definition of our mandate.

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley says DUP will not be bullied

The DUP will not be forced, rushed or bullied into accepting any level of IRA criminality.

Currently there is no evidence that Sinn Fein/IRA will be any further advanced in giving up criminality in November.

Given the reality that there will be no executive formed for the foreseeable future the best way forward is to get working in the assembly.

Mr Paisley also condemned the Irish government's involvement in Northern Ireland.

"This part of the UK is not really a part of the UK but is a part of the UK where a foreign government has more say over Northern Ireland than the people of Northern Ireland."

SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS

The Sinn Fein leader said there were "negatives and positives" in the statement.

Gerry Adams
Plan is forward step, says Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams

"We welcome that the assembly has been brought together... we have concerns about the timeframe, about other aspects of the statement, but we think that's a good forward step.

We would like to think that unionism generally would see it as a positive opportunity.

I appeal to Unionism to seize this opportunity.

It is about a shared future for all the people on this island.

It appears that they (the two governments) are saying to the DUP `if you don't come on board we are going to go ahead without you'."

ULSTER UNIONIST LEADER SIR REG EMPEY

Sir Reg said he welcomed the recall of the assembly.

"We urgently need to have an input into, and make changes to, direct rule decisions on education, water rates and the Review of Public Administration to name but three. This is our job.

He also criticised the DUP.

"We have been told by the Democratic Unionist Party that the Belfast agreement was binned, consigned to the dustbin of history.

Looking and listening to today's press conference it didn't look binned to me. It's actually back centre stage.

"The governments are saying they're going to implement it or at least those parts of it over which they have control, whether or not this assembly works again."

SDLP LEADER MARK DURKAN

"All we have today is an 11 paragraph announcement that tells us less rather than more. That's why the SDLP will need to see the legislation that follows it. It may be better - or indeed worse.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan
SDLP leader Mark Durkan has concerns about blueprint

We will be urging the Irish government to ensure that the British government does not abuse its powers in that legislation.

In particular, we are concerned that the secretary of state will still seek in that legislation a power to change the Good Friday Agreement at will. People should be clear about where all these difficulties about a shadow assembly have come from.

A shadow assembly was agreed between the DUP and Sinn Fein in 2004 in the so called comprehensive agreement. We are still living with the damage caused by that bad deal."

ALLIANCE PARTY LEADER DAVID FORD

"Today's statement is all about structures.

The governments have not paid attention to the wider social issues, most obviously segregated public services, which are dividing our society and creating conditions for instability and stagnation."

SHADOW NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY DAVID LIDINGTON

"The greatest responsibility for progress now rests with the republican movement to end all criminal activities and to support the police.

Without both of these, we believe it would be unacceptable to have Sinn Fein ministers in government in a part of our country.

If by the autumn power-sharing has still not proved possible we would oppose any further greening of direct rule or moves towards joint authority between London and Dublin which would be a complete breach of the Good Friday Agreement."




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