Irish Republican News · June 6, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Talk to us - Adams

Ian Paisley’s DUP has been challenged to formally enter dialogue with republicans for the first time.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said the DUP’s current position of not negotiating with Sinn Féin was not sustainable, although he recognised the hardline unionists might find the prospect “difficult” and “uninviting”.

Mr Adams said he awaited a positive response from the IRA to his appeal for them to declare a purely non-violent democratic future - and said there was now an unprecedented opportunity to make political progress in the North of Ireland.

In a direct message to the DUP, he said their recent electoral successes had given them the leadership of unionism and they could not opt out of their responsibilities.

“Their increased mandate brings with it increased responsibility and an imperative to deliver for their electorate. The DUP needs to engage in a meaningful way in the political process and that means engaging, negotiating and talking with Sinn Féin,” said Mr Adams.

He conceded: “The DUP may find that is a very uninviting prospect,” adding: “We can all find excuses not to engage.”

Mr Adams said in a statement that Sinn Féin recognised and respected the DUP’s mandate and knew that a necessary element of any conflict-resolution process was inclusive, unconditional dialogue. That demanded a serious effort in good faith to engage with political opponents, he said.

“Dialogue with political opponents may be difficult, as much for Sinn Féin as for the DUP, but dialogue is the only way forward, the only way to build a lasting peace.

“The public position of the DUP is unsustainable. At some point, the DUP will have to enter the world of real politics. How else do they hope to deliver for their electorate?”

If the DUP did not want a return to the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, that was its choice and the party could refuse to take part, he said.

However, the unionists could not stop the process of change - they could only “play for time and slow it down”.

Asking if that was what unionism was reduced to, Mr Adams said the unprecedented opportunity to make progress required confidence, courage and leadership. That was the challenge facing the DUP, he said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News