[Sinn Fein]

13th February 2003

Adams calls for `tens of thousands' to join anti-war protests

Speaking at a Sinn Fein anti-war press conference in Dublin today the party s president Gerry Adams criticised the failure of the Irish government to use it s influence in the UN to put a halt to the US and British drive towards war with Iraq. And while calling for tens of thousands of people to join the demonstrations taking place in Belfast and Dublin on Saturday next Mr Adams said there was no justification for the war which would have ``catastrophic consequences not only in Iraq itself but throughout the Middle East''. He said:

``This weekend, tens of thousands of Irish people on the streets of Dublin and Belfast will join millions in demonstrations throughout the world to demand that the governments of the United States and Britain stop their drive to war and to halt their planned full-scale invasion of Iraq. They will also be there to protest at the Irish governments role in the build up to that war.

``Sinn Fein is to the fore in the campaign against this war because we do not believe it is justified. If war is to be declared it should be a war against poverty and for equality.

``As an Irish Republican Party we support a strong independent foreign policy and military neutrality for Ireland.

``Our experience of the Irish Peace Process has shown us in a very real way that dialogue and negotiation is the best way to achieve the peaceful resolution of conflicts. It is regrettable that the Irish government is not promoting this in the UN.

``Almost everyone is in agreement that a military attack would have catastrophic consequences not only in Iraq itself but throughout the Middle East. The last war shows us that it is the innocent civilian population of Iraq who will suffer the most.

``We believe that the UN inspectors should be allowed to continue their work. This requires on the one hand that they are supported by the US and Britain and on the other hand the full co-operation of Sadaam Hussein and his regime.  

``I am calling on people from across all 32 counties to join the protest rallies in Dublin and Belfast next Saturday and to use your voice for peace and justice.''

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