Adams defies visa pressure
Adams defies visa pressure

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP spoke by live satellite link up to a packed capacity crowd who were standing and cheering at the Friends of Sinn Féin dinner in New York City last night.

Adams told the guests that Friends of Sinn Féin had sold more tickets for the event than ever before because of the publicity surrounding the current fund-raising ban imposed by the US State Department.

“I’d like to thank those in the US administration who made this possible,” he joked to cheers from more than 700 guests.

“I’m disappointed not to meet with old friends, meet new friends and make a report on the process of progress since last we met,” he said.

But Mr Adams told the crowd that recent initiatives by the IRA had opened up “a new phase” in Irish political life.

“We now have the ability to develop strategies and policies which can positively change the future of Ireland and reshape the type of country that we want to live in for our future generations as well as this generation.

“Consultation, engagement, persuasion and negotiation with a view to securing active support for a united Ireland must be the means towards these ends.

“And in all of this, the contribution Irish America has made has been enormous. With the progress we have made this year and the potential that is now opening up for us, we need your support even more than ever.”

Mr Adams also dealt with the issue of policing, which he said appears was “the root of the disappointing decision” taken by the U.S. administration to refuse a fundraising visa.

“Nationalists and republicans need and want to be policed. We are a law abiding community.”

He said the Good Friday Agreement declared that our society needed a new beginning to policing and defined the criteria for a civic policing service.

“That is the position Sinn Féin supports. Achieving this is a priority issue and task for Sinn Féin. Let me repeat that - Sinn Féin is for policing.

“But Sinn Féin refuses to accept less than the Agreement and while others chose to support the current policing arrangements we carried on and won the argument for amending legislation which brings the policing dispensation closer to the Good Friday Agreement proposals.”

Mr Adams said that, in successive elections, nationalists had supported the party’s analysis and position on the issue.

“No one will take our decisions for us or force us into taking up positions which are untenable or unsustainable.

“It is our party, in consultation with our electorate and our support base which will take the decision to embrace a genuine new beginning to policing.

“I made it clear to the U.S. Government that the creation of the new beginning to policing, in accordance with the principles of the Good Friday Agreement is what Sinn Féin is determined to achieve. And in my view we have made substantial progress.

“I believe we will get policing right - or as right as policing ever can be.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News