Speaking to Republicans throughout the North at the Party convention in Derry Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister, told party activists that:
"If we are to become persuaders for a new Ireland … a land of equals… and if we are to respond appropriately to the fears and uncertainties of those who see us through different eyes than we see ourselves.
“We want and need unionists to understand what we are about and what our politics is about and what it really means for them.
“The transformation of society must include addressing their needs.”
McGuinness said Northern Ireland was undergoing massive change.
“This country – this entire island - north and south is undergoing a process of change, huge change, in every sphere of life - and not least on the political front.
“In recent years we have experienced and are continuing to experience significant political change. And Sinn Fein has been at the heart of much of that.
“The political transformation in the earlier part of the peace process was up in lights…it was with the eyes of the world upon us and it was in the full glare of the media.
“The manifestations of the process of change were enormous and unquestionable.”
He said more change was on the way.
“As we continue to build we are entering another phase of the process of change. This phase doesn’t carry with it the same attraction for international or media focus. Difficulties lie ahead… we can be sure of that.
“But whatever we face we will face it well.. we can and must be absolutely sure of that.
“So, let us ensure that we keep focused on what has to be done and how best to do it. We must be realistic, but we must also be optimistic.
“And we cannot be anything other than confident. And so we should be. Our record tells us that we are entitled to be.
"Let us ensure that we stay confident and let us ensure that we mark this next year as another year of change, of progress and of advance.
"It is crucial that we keep that momentum in the process and that we are continually questioning ourselves and how our work is impacting on the bigger picture.”
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