24th January 2003
Adams - republicans must be prepared to continue their essential contribution to peace process
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP will tell the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle meeting in Dublin tomorrow, Saturday 25th, that republicans must be prepared to continue their essential contribution to the Peace Process. Mr Adams will say that Sinn Fein's approach to the upcoming negotiations will be on a principled and realistic basis. Mr. Adams will stress that:-
- The Good Friday Agreement is the only show in town.
- The IRA is not a threat to the peace process. The British government and the unionists know this.
- The IRA has given a fair wind to the Agreement.
- The unionists have not been selling the Agreement. Instead they have been seeking to dilute and renegotiate.
- The British and Irish governments have pandered to them and have encouraged them in this approach.
- Anti-Agreement unionist violence has been tolerated, and tacitly encouraged, by British securocrats.
- Allegations about IRA activities have created political difficulties but the IRA is not the cause of the crisis.
- The UUP had decided to collapse the political institutions by January 18th in any event.
- The raid on Sinn Fein's Stormont Offices, the arrests of republicans and other action by the British government agencies clouded this fundamental reality and contrived a basis for the British government to suspend the political institutions.
- Demands for the surrender of the IRA and or the disbandment of the IRA are not in our view, realistic.
- Sinn Fein is committed to bringing a permanent end to political conflict on this island. We have a strategy for that and a strategy to see an end to all armed groups. Others, especially the British government and the unionists, also have significant roles in that strategy. So too the Irish government.
Mr Adams adds:
``The democratic imperative must be given precedence both as a matter of principle and as a counter to a contrived strategy of instability. The requires that:-
- The elections scheduled for 1 May 2003 must go ahead.
- The British government must end its veto over the institutions. Their legislation to suspend the institutions which was enacted on unionist demands must be repealed.
- The stunted process to create an acceptable policing service must be got back on track and rapidly concluded.
- The justice system shaped by unionist domination and Britain's military imperatives in Ireland must be transformed.
- Equality must be realised and delivered.
- The demilitarisation of society must be brought forward rapidly.
``These are all requirements of the Good Friday Agreement to which the British government and the Ulster Unionist Party are signatories. There is nothing new about them save the British Prime Minister's acceptance that his government has not been fulfilling its obligations across the board on these issues.
``When I say that the IRA is not the cause of the crisis, this is not to suggest that allegations of IRA activities do not cause political difficulties in the unionist constituency. They do of course. And regardless of whether they are real or unfounded Irish republicans know that, because ongoing activities by British intelligence, the British Army, the police force and unionist paramilitaries cause political difficulties in our community. Particularly against a backdrop of unionist contrived perpetual political crisis which is at the centre of attempts to wreck or renegotiate the Agreement.
``But these are problems to be addressed and resolved, not reasons for wrecking the Agreement.
``The British Prime Minister has put his finger on the route to doing this. His frank admission that his government has not been implementing the Agreement is a tacit acceptance of the analysis Sinn Fein has been making all along. The Agreement, the political contract and primary device for creating the conditions in which all armed groups can be removed from the political arena, has not and is not being implemented.
``Instead the failed politics of dealing with the symptoms of conflict rather than its causes looms large over the situation. It is a well worn route into cul-de-sac politics and usually involves making pre-conditions out of objectives of the peace process.''
Concluding Mr Adams will tell the Sinn Fein Executive:
``Recognising all of the difficulties, and conscious of real concerns,as opposed to excuses for contrived scenarios and situations, Sinn Fein will explore any possibilities Mr Blair's current negotiation open up.
``While we welcome the British Prime Minister's acknowledgement that the British government is not and has not been implementing the Agreement. We are also mindful of their claims to the contrary over the past four and a half years and the politically debilitating effect of this. Nonetheless, we will explore with Mr Blair and the Irish government, their commitment to rectify this.
``The effect of this bad faith by the British government should not be underestimated. Their credibility in the republican constituency is low.''
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