Sinn Fein has the potential and capacity to become the vehicle for the attainment of republican objectives.
The Good Friday Agreement and the basic rights and entitlements of citizens that are enshrined within it must be defended and actively promoted by London and Dublin.
In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle. I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.
For over 30 years, the IRA showed that the British government could not rule Ireland on its own terms.
Hugging trees has a calming effect on me. I'm talking about enormous trees that will be there when we are all dead and gone. I've hugged trees in every part of this little island.
For good or ill, I'm a person of leadership. I do my best. I don't dodge responsibility.
Sinn Fein has demonstrated the ability to play a leadership role as part of a popular movement towards peace, equality and justice.
Sinn Fein has productively taken the example of South Africa and, as we develop the peace process, we continue to use examples from South Africa.
Your determination, selflessness and courage have brought the freedom struggle towards its fulfilment.
The last months, weeks and days have seen accelerating discussions, involving the DUP for the first time, about a comprehensive agreement which would see all outstanding matters dealt with and the Good Friday Agreement implemented in full.
We have to make sure the Good Friday Agreement works.
I think there is a huge responsibility upon governments to understand the consequence of their decisions.
When others stood idly by, you and your families gave your all, in defence of a risen people and in pursuit of Irish freedom and unity.
If I didn't forgive the people who took me into the barracks and beat me unconscious over a period of days during the period when the British state was indicted for inhuman and degrading treatment in 1971-72, or even the guys who shot me, if you don't forgive them, you end up with unnecessary baggage.
At that time, the army leadership said the implementation of this agreement would allow everyone, including the IRA, to take its political objectives forward by peaceful and democratic means.
But I also hold the very strong view that republicans need to lead by example.
But if republicans are to prevail, if the peace process is to be successfully concluded and Irish sovereignty and re-unification secured, then we have to set the agenda - no-one else is going to do that.
We are totally committed to ending partition and to creating the conditions for unity and independence.
Republican patience with how unionism deals with the political institutions, and with key issues like equality and human rights, will be tested because, obviously, there will be a battle a day on these matters. So lets face up to all of this with our eyes wide open.
The catalyst for much of this change is the growing support for republicanism.