Adams hails Canadian support
Adams hails Canadian support

The world is witnessing a watershed moment in history with the disarming of the IRA and Canadian officials should be thanked for their role in aiding Ireland’s peace process, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said on Saturday.

Speaking to the Canadian media before a speech to the Friends of Sinn Féin annual dinner in Toronto, Mr. Adams said the Provisional IRA has made important strides in achieving the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

“The last year has seen huge moves, unprecedented, historical moves to end the armed campaign,” Mr. Adams said.

“I think in the upcoming short term we will see strenuous efforts made to get the political institutions back in place, to get the Good Friday Agreement rolled out and from there, to build stability and harmony.”

He said the importance of the IRA’s disarmament still hasn’t resonated around the world and 2005 will be remembered for the critical breakthrough.

“I think it will take some space for people to absorb fully the importance of what the IRA has done,” Mr. Adams said.

“When people come back to this point they’ll see it as a watershed in modern Irish republican history, a huge move.”

The chief disarmament commissioner, retired Canadian general John de Chastelain, declared on Sept. 26 that the IRA had co-operated with international inspectors and had disposed of its cache of weapons.

Mr. Adams said no less than half a dozen senior and respected Canadians are to be commended for playing a supportive role in the peace process.

“There must be up to half a dozen very senior and respected citizens that have come from here,” Mr. Adams said, “I commend them for it and the support of the government here.”

He also listed off the names of Canadian judge William Hoyt, who was among a panel of judges sitting at the Bloody Sunday inquiry; former Canadian supreme court judge Peter Cory, who called for an investigation into four killings in Ireland; and Al Hutchinson, a former RCMP assistant commissioner looking into Northern Ireland policing reforms.

Mr Adams was commenting in the wake of a cooling of relations between his party and the US administration after he was refused permission to attend a similar event in New York. The US State Department has controversially sought to use the visa as a bargaining chip in negotiations on behalf of Sinn Féin’s political opponents.

Shortly before the annual dinner, Mr Adams spoke by phone to the Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. The Sinn Féin President took the opportunity to thank the Canadian government for its consistent help and support for the Irish peace process and in particular the important work of Canadian experts like Judge Cory and General John de Chastelain

The Canadian Prime Minister Mr Martin assured the Sinn Féin President that Canada would continue to support the peace process and would continue to provide whatever help it could.

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