[Sinn Fein]

26th October 2001

Republicans must remain focussed on our objectives

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking after a meeting of senior party members today said:

``There is understandable and considerable emotion amongst many republican activists following the IRA's unprecedented move on the arms issue. This move has hit a raw nerve among many good and genuine republicans. Contrary to some reports the Republican base was not ready for a move by the IRA. Even if the backdrop was more advanced, in my view a move by the Army at any time would have aroused great emotions because of the sensitivities involved for people in struggle.

``The hurt within republicanism at this difficult time is because republicans have a sense of ourselves. No one should underestimate any of this.

``In my view the IRA's initiative was a patriotic act. True patriotism requires courage and vision. But it also involves self sacrifice and an ability to endure a lot.

``Most republicans understand this and have experienced deprivations during lifetimes in struggle but many see little reason for the IRA's move given the state of the political process at this time.

``The failure of unionism, until now, to work the process, the loyalists bombing and shooting campaign, the disgraceful tolerance by the great and the good of the blockade of young school girls at Holy Cross, a wholly lopsided debate on the arms issue and in particular the British governments handling of the over all process has undermined republican confidence in the process.

``Despite this and despite the problems for all of us during this phase Republicans must remain focussed on our objectives and stay united and actively involved in the struggle to achieve our entirely legitimate aims of unity and independence.

``It may take a little while for everyone to absorb and rationalise what has happened but this is a period in which all republicans have to pull together.

``The Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Fein is to meet for an unscheduled meeting at the Ard Boyne Hotel, Navan on Monday next.''

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