[Sinn Fein]

6 January 1998

Grab talks process by the scruff of the neck - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP this morning led a party delegation to meet the British Secretary of State. Emerging afterwards he called on the two governments to ``grab this process by the scruff of the neck and drive it forward with urgency.''

Mr. Adams said:

``We put our firm view to the British government that the current serious situation has arisen because Unionism and Loyalism are opposed to change.

``That is why they refused to talk during the negotiations last year and why no progress has been made. Consequently, there has been a vacuum created which has been filled by loyalist death squads killing catholics in a number of mass murder bids. The purpose behind that is to attempt to terrorise the nationalist people and to force the two governments to slow down this process, stop it or in some way reduce its potential.

``In our view the orange card is being played once again. The unionists are trying to assert a veto and its up to the two governments, and especially the British government to ensure that this doesn't happen.

``We put it to the British Secretary of State that not only do the two governments have to grab this process by the scruff of the neck and drive it forward with urgency but they also have to introduce the equality agenda which is required outside the talks.

``There have been no proper meaningful talks so far by the unionists. They have refused to talk properly to any of the parties and they have refused to talk at all with Sinn Fein. There are many who wonder at David Trimble's preparedness to go into the H Blocks today and talk with loyalist prisoners - a move which I welcome - and his refusal to speak to Sinn Fein which is the third largest party in this statelet.''

Note to Editor: Accompanying Mr. Adams were Martin McGuinness MP, Bairbre de Brun, Gerry Kelly, Siobhan O'Hanlon and Richard McAuley.

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