The British and Irish governments could put progress in the North at risk if they divert from what was agreed at the St Andrews talks and make fresh concessions to the DUP, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said.

The two parties have until November 10 to signal their support for the plan agreed at St Andrew’s and sign up to power-sharing.

If they do, DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness will be nominated First and Deputy First Ministers respectively on November 24.

However, among the problems is the DUP’s insistence that Mr McGuinness pledge his support for the PSNI (formerly RUC) police before he takes up his position.

Speaking on Irish radio yesterday, Mr Adams said no Sinn Féin ministers would take such an oath until the party, as a whole, agreed to endorse the PSNI. He said the PSNI was not currently providing the type of civil policing envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement.

However, if the British government and other parties to the agreement fulfilled their promises, then he could “try to bring other members of the party to the position where they would consider (whether) the type of accountable and partial, civic, de-politicised policing that citizens require can be produced by the PSNI”.

He continued: “But if in the meantime, in an attempt to get Ian Paisley in, we chase republicans out, or the governments make concessions to this absurd notion the DUP have that negotiation is a matter of making demands and then waiting for other people to genuflect before them, then, you know, we could all be in a bit of a mess.

“I have a sense that the DUP will come into this, but I don’t want to have anybody representing any Irish person stuck in institutions which are strait-jacketed forever because the governments made short-term concessions.”

On Saturday, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson cast doubt on whether the November 24 deadline for appointing the first ministers would be met, claiming Sinn Féin would “not be ready”.

Mr Adams hit back, saying Mr Robinson’s remarks were “entirely predictable”.

“When the DUP put up its entirely bogus demand that Sinn Féin take an ‘oath of loyalty to the PSNI before the nomination of the First and Deputy First Ministers designate’, many in the Sinn Féin leadership said this was really only an excuse to forestall those appointments.”

The Sinn Féin president said his party was conscious of the difficulties facing the DUP.

“But Ian Paisley will not overcome these difficulties by creating new ones. It was never going to be easy to bring rejectionist unionists into a better place. Sinn Féin is not naive on these matters. But we will persist with this task.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2006 Irish Republican News