[Sinn Fein]

24th July 2002

Adams responds to comments from Blair and Reid

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP speaking following this afternoons debate in the British House of Commons said:

"The British government has failed to deal with the real crisis which our society is facing and that is the sustained and orchestrated campaign of sectarian violence by loyalist groups, especially the UDA campaign. Their comments do not address this dangerous situation.

"The British government today also failed to assert the primary responsibility of the First Minister to give leadership at this difficult time against the loyalist death squads.

"We welcome the adoption of proposals to put in place a communication network in interface areas. Sinn Fein made these proposals to the two governments and the other parties a month ago at Hillsborough. Despite a lobby by us the British government thus far have failed to make progress on this issue.

"What the vast majority of people who support the Good Friday Agreement wanted and needed to hear this afternoon was the assertion by the British government of the primacy of politics, the protection and promotion of the Good Friday Agreement and forthright opposition to sectarianism. We did not hear that today.

"There is a concern that this manufactured crisis could continue. The onus is on the British and Irish governments to ensure that this does not happen. The priority at this time has to be a united and unambiguous opposition to sectarianism and the British and Irish government and David Trimble, as First Minister, have a particular responsibility in this regard and to the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement."

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