[Sinn Fein]

10 February 2001

Adams updates Ard Chomhairle on discussions with governments

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP today updated the party's Ard Chomhairle on the intensive discussions which are continuing with the British and Irish governments to try to break the political impasse.   Also on the agenda were the upcoming elections and a referendum on the Treaty of Nice

Speaking to journalists, Mr Adams said:

``This morning I gave the Ard Chomhairle an update on ongoing discussions with the two governments and I will be talking to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern later on today.  Obviously the immediate focus today is on David Trimble but British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. has a major responsibility in all of this.

``Members of the Ard Chomhairle have been angered that, at a time when we are trying to move the situation forward, David Trimble is attempting to deepen the crisis.  Concern was also expressed about the UDA's bombing campaign against Catholics in the North.

``Yesterday's letter from David Trimble is grossly offensive to nationalists and republicans.  Everyone knows that threats or sanctions are not the way to make progress in a conflict resolution process.

``David Trimble needs to face down the rejectionists and do what he, as First Minister was elected to do - defend the Agreement.  

``That is also the challenge for Tony Blair and it is worth remembering that these intense negotiations are about getting the British Government to accept the recommendations of the Policing Commission which it established.  Some limited progress has been made in this regard in those negotiations but much more needs to be done.  Mr. Blair knows this.''

Responding to questions about the election of the new Fine Gael leader, Michael Noonan, Mr Adams said:

``First of all, I would like to congratulate Michael Noonan on his election and we hope that this signals  a policy shift in relation to the party's position on the peace process.

``In terms of future coalition governments, well I suppose it is obvious that we have little in common with Fine Gael on a range of economic and social matters and neutrality, but Sinn Fein's position on possible coalition government will depend on the strength of its electoral support and a Sinn Fein special delegate conference to be held after the election.  Anything else is pure speculation.''

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