Irish Republican News · November 24, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
No surrender to DUP - Adams

The IRA is not going to respond to any ``surrender'' demand from the DUP or its leader, Ian Paisley, the Sinn Féin president Mr Gerry Adams told the party's Easter Rising commemoration in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin would engage positively in the intensive round of negotiations in London later this month that the British and Irish governments have called in a renewed effort to restore devolution.

He said Sinn Féin respected the DUP mandate but that in these negotiations the DUP must respect Sinn Féin's by dealing with them directly.

``Sinn Féin is strong enough and big enough and confident enough in our own politics to talk to anyone. In fact we have a duty to do so. So do the DUP,'' said Mr Adams.

``But like John Major at the start of this process, the DUP is demanding that the IRA publicly surrender before the DUP will even sit down and talk to Sinn Féin. Can anyone imagine the IRA dashing off to obey the DUP diktat?

``Does Mr Paisley imagine that P O'Neill was just waiting for this demand from him? Surely wiser counsel will know that a sensible approach is about dealing with these issues collectively.''

Mr Adams said blaming republicans for the current stalemate would not create the proper atmosphere for serious negotiations. ``If the governments are serious about this peace process then they need to convince republicans and nationalists. This requires actions not words.''

He said the two governments must honour commitments made last October when the sequenced deal designed to restore devolution was cut short.

``Let us be clear. Both governments entered into commitments, covering a wide range of issues from prisoners, through policing, demilitarisation, northern representation in southern institutions, equality, human rights matters and more. There was to be immediate and substantial progress on all of these. There was none,'' he said.

``Instead we have the continued suspension of the institutions of the Good Friday agreement, a totally unacceptable situation.''

He said the impetus to reinstating the political institutions lay with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

It was Mr Blair who had set June as a timeframe for ending the stalemate, he added.

``We will do our best to make that work but only the actions of the governments can determine how successful we will collectively be in the weeks ahead,'' Mr Adams said.

``Whatever the spin of the moment by the governments, the reality is that the greatest challenge at this time is to the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

``No-one should underestimate the depth of the crisis facing the peace process at this time.

``I believe that if the political will exists even the serious and vexed issues facing all of us at this time can be resolved.

``To that end Sinn Féin has remained in contact with the two governments and the other parties.

``I know that Irish republicans have that strength of will to resolve these issues.

``I am not confident that the two governments have it. I am certainly not confident that the leaders of political unionism have it,'' he added.

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© 2003 Irish Republican News