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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006, 12:01 GMT
Leaders share hopes for New Year
Politicians and church leaders have been giving their New Year messages to the people of Northern Ireland.

ARCHBISHOP ROBIN EAMES, CHURCH OF IRELAND PRIMATE

"As a new year dawns, hope and confidence must be key words for our whole community.

"The problems which confront us are many, but so are the possibilities for progress at every level.

"No one can deny the lessons we have learned from our past of failed initiatives at a political level, no one can take pride in failure - but we can all benefit from the knowledge of why those attempts failed.

"Let us pray that fresh efforts to find stability in government and administration of this province will make real progress in 2006."

JIM ALLISTER, DUP MEP

"Within Europe, it is my hope that the ongoing attempts by Euro-federalists to revive the proposed EU Constitution will fail and suffer the same rejection as inflicted by France and Holland in 2005.

"Certainly, I will be directing my energies to thwarting all attempts to further centralise the EU and impose an unwanted and unnecessary Constitution.

"If the centralising forces in Europe have as bad a year in 2006 as they had in 2005, then I will be well pleased.

"Within Northern Ireland, I hope for further exposure of the duplicity and machinations of Sinn Fein/IRA."

SIR REG EMPEY, LEADER OF THE UUP

"After a 2005 marred by unprecedented political events which have left most people not knowing what to expect next, we must re-double our efforts to make 2006 a year of genuine opportunity for our province.

"It is going to be an uphill task to turn around a jaded general public whose faith in the political process is almost at rock bottom.

"People have to be given an encouraging signal, one that spells out that ordinary law-abiding citizens will have their voice heard for a change.

"Government needs to shift its focus away from placating the bank robbers and hoods who are regularly given headlines and political leeway."

MARK DURKAN, SDLP LEADER

"2006 must be the year that we leave the past behind on a moral basis.

"The British government must heed the call now made by all the political parties in the north to withdraw the Northern Ireland Offences Bill.

"Instead we need to work on positive proposals for truth, recognition and remembrance that put victims' rights at their heart.

"2006 must also be the year that everybody accepts the lawful society.

"That means working with the police and accepting that the law applies equally to everybody - not backing vigilante networks that cover up the misdeeds of their own members."

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER

"In January the British and Irish Governments and Sinn Fein intend making a serious effort to resurrect the government and institutions.

"The British government has given commitments on policing including the transfer of power.

"I have made it clear that if the British honour their obligations, if the DUP agrees to share power and the model into which policing and justice will be transferred, then Sinn Fein will hold a special conference to debate this matter out fully to arrive at a democratically agreed position.

"I believe the New Year is full of hope and that real and meaningful progress is possible."




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