[Sinn Fein]

12th October 2002

Adams addresses media at Ard Comhairle meeting

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking to the media today at Party headquarters in Dublin during a meeting of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle said:

"The Ard Chomhairle meeting today reviewed the current situation. There was a clear and strong consensus that if the British government, as is widely speculated, moves to suspend the Assembly in the north, that they will be serving the agenda of the Anti-Agreement campaign.

Mr. Trimble knows that there is no basis for his demand for the expulsion of Sinn Fein from the Executive. Despite his protestations to the contrary Mr. Trimble favours suspension. That much is clear from the recent UUC conference policy position.

The Ard Chomhairle reiterated our commitment to the Good Friday Agreement. It endorsed the party's demand that the two governments must drive forward the process. The agenda must not change. The agenda is the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr. Trimble's attack on the proposition that the two governments must step in to ensure that those important aspects of the Agreement that can be implemented are implemented, is ludicrous. He knows that the unionist exodus from the institutions leave no other option.

His suggestion that he could remain in some shadow position as First Minister is equally ludicrous. If Mr. Trimble wants to remain in any capacity he should not walk away from the institutions. If he does walk away then he can expect no special dispensation for himself.

Sinn Fein will continue to fulfil our obligations, defend the rights and entitlements of our electorate and pursue the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement."

Gerry Adams spoke by phone yesterday to the Taoiseach and continued discussions today with senior government officials and with Downing Street.

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said 'the party leadership is not taking these recent developments lying down. There is a real anger about the raid at Stormont and the arrest and continued detention of Denis Donaldson. The unionists have seized upon these events but they need to know that there is no escape from the Good Friday Agreement for anyone, whether in government or in any political party. Despite all the difficulties that will eventually dawn upon the rejectionists.

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