Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein seeks constitution change

Martin McGuinness has been nominated to sit on the panel reviewing Ireland's constitution
Martin McGuinness has been nominated to sit on the panel reviewing Ireland's constitution

Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is among Sinn Fein's nominations for the body set to review the Irish constitution.

The Derry politician was nominated to represent the party on the Republic's Constitutional Convention alongside his leader Gerry Adams and deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.

Mr Adams has previously said the scope of the convention should be widened, and after a meeting of Sinn Fein's ruling council he repeated calls for it to be an opportunity for major reform.

Speaking after his party's ard comhairle meeting in Dublin, Mr Adams said: "Sinn Fein has nominated its party's leaders because of the seriousness with which it takes the process and will participate fully in the convention.

"This is an opportunity for the government to begin to form a truly national consensus for fundamental change and to transform the constitution taking account of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is an opportunity to re-imagine Ireland in the 21st century. It is a chance to put in place a constitution that has all the citizens of this nation, of this island, at its heart, to deliver on the promise of the 1916 Proclamation."

The Sinn Fein President also called on the British government's new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers to deal with outstanding issues in the peace process.

He said: "I hope that Theresa Villiers will bring a new and more progressive focus to the issues which need attention now. They were not dealt with properly by her predecessor, Owen Paterson.

"There are outstanding matters from the Good Friday and Hillsborough Agreements, such as a bill of rights for the North, corporation tax and cross-border development, which the British government needs to deliver on."

The Sinn Fein leader also highlighted the continued imprisonment of republicans Marian Price and Martin Corey in Northern Ireland and said he would raise the calls for their release with the new Secretary of State.

PA

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