13 September 2001
We must show there is a better way - Adams
Speaking in the Assembly today Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP MLA said:
``Two years ago I visited the north tower of the World Trade Centre. Some Irish/American friends associated with Friends of Sinn Fein and who work at the World Trade Centre and in the financial district adjacent to it, had organised a lunch in the `Windows on the World' restaurant on top of the tower.
``Sadly, tragically, one of those who organised our visit that day is now missing.
``I'm told by friends in New York that there is little hope of finding him alive. Others we met that day are almost certainly part of the casualty list.
``Among those who died is Fr. Michael Judge, Chaplain of the New York Fire Service. I met Fr. Michael several times. He was a close friend of New York policemen Steven McDonald, a quadriplegic who was shot down in the line of duty and has devoted his life to the cause of peace.
``Another New York friend - an ex-fireman - who has survived this tragedy is trying to come to terms with the fact that all of his friends, all of those he worked with as a fireman every day for many years, his whole station has been wiped out.
``Last night I spent several hours on the phone for the second day trying to get through to friends in New York, to make sure they were safe, and to hear news of the extent of the tragedy. The enormity of this catastrophe for them is very personal. It is to me too. My telephone conversations will be repeated by many Irish people reaching out to relatives and friends in the United States.
``Many of us in this room have also experienced the grief and hurt of loss during the years of our conflict. We understand the personal trauma that is now touching thousands of American homes, and homes here in Ireland, in Britain and elsewhere in the world.
``Like everyone else in this Assembly today I unequivocally condemn those who carried out these attacks and I have sent my deepest condolences and sympathies to the people of the United States, to President Bush, Governor Pakati, to Mayor Giuliani and other representatives.
``It is clear that this atrocity will have profound, far reaching and long term consequences, not just personally for the victims or for the USA but for the rest of the world.
``Humanity collectively, including those of us on this small island should be mindful of this in the time ahead.
``It is right that we do what we are doing here today in expressing solidarity and sympathy with the people in the USA.
``But we have to go further than these essential and necessary expressions of our sorrow, shock and denunciation.
``The best contribution the parties represented here, along with the Irish and British governments, can make to world peace, to the cause of justice throughout the world, to the memory of those who have died in the USA, in conflicts around the world, including our own country, is to make our peace process work.
``When viewed in the awful context of other conflicts, or in the enormity of human suffering in New York and Washington, it is true to say that great progress has been made here.
``Is this to be squandered?
``We know the issues. They have been well rehearsed and I am not challenging unionists nor the British government alone by these remarks. There is a collective challenge for all of us.
``Sinn Fein is totally committed to the peace process.
``I rededicate myself and our party to do our very best to resolve the problems that confront us all.
``The difficulties we share, are real difficulties. I cannot and I do not underestimate that. Neither do I suggest that republicans or nationalists have a monopoly on grievance or problems.
``But let us realise that our duty is to make peace with each other, to build democracy here and to resist all the sectional or factional urges that serve to divide us.
``We have still a long way to go to settle these problems. If we fail to do so then we will have failed our people. We will have failed ourselves and as we absorb what has happened in the USA we will have failed the challenge and spurned the opportunity, amid all the anger, chaos and sorrow to make a difference and show that there is a better way.''
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