More than 300 people attended Sinn Fein’s leadership meeting in the City Hotel in Derry on Wednesday evening.
The meeting was chaired by Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Raymond McCartney and included the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Education Minister John O’Dowd and Foyle MLA, Maeve McLaughlin on the panel.
Mr. McGuinness spoke of the current situation at Stormont.
“It’s going to take strong leadership to make these talks work over the coming weeks but Sinn Fein will not give up,” said Mr. McGuinness.
“If no progress is made in the next few weeks then it’s hard to see how the Executive can have a future. But rest assured, Sinn Fein is determined to make this work. Sinn Fein is part of a power sharing executive because we want to be, unionist parties are there because they have to be,” he added.
The current talks to determine the future of the Executive came about after unionist ministers resigned after Chief Constable, George Hamilton, linked the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast in August to the Provisional IRA.
Questions from the floor covered a wide variety of topics including academic selection, mental health provision in Derry, the university at Magee and the PSNI.
Not everyone at the meeting was a Sinn Fein supporter and many used the question and answer session to communicate their opinions to the panel.
Mr. McGuinness addressed a question about the police and said former members of the RUC, now working for the PSNI, “are deeply resentful of Sinn Fein in power.”
“This isn’t something that I have fabricated - it’s a fact. High ranking officials within the PSNI have told me that there are a small number of the RUC old guard within the ranks who are deeply resentful of the fact that I am Deputy First Minister and with Sinn Fein being in power.”
Mr. McGuinness also said that Sinn Fein would refuse to sign up to any future programme for government unless the issue of perceived economic inequality that has plagued Derry and the wider North West for decades was addressed.