[Sinn Fein]

16 May 1996

Gerry Adams responds to John Major

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams responding to British Prime Minister John Major's article in todays Irish Times said:

``John Major's statement will be studied by everyone concerned to see a negotiated peace process re-established. It will also be studied to see if it will help bring about a restoration of the IRA cessation.

``This is of course a matter for the IRA and I am not going to enter into speculation about its position. I am responding to Mr Major's remarks from Sinn Fein's perspective and with a concern to play a positive and constructive role in rebuilding the peace process.

``I am also mindful of John Major's difficulties.

``On Tuesday I expressed the concern that John Major could produce the rhetoric which points up the possibility of movement without the substance which such movement requires. Mr. Major claims that ``once the elections are over the route to the negotiations is clear, direct and automatic'' - but not for Sinn Fein.

``I reject totally any pre-conditions being placed on that section of the electorate which our party represents. Sinn Fein is a democratically mandated political party. We are to be excluded form the negotiations despite our electoral mandate and on the basis of a pre-condition of an IRA cease-fire which, clearly , we cannot deliver on our own.

``I have consistently pointed to the need for an inclusive process for clear and firm guidance at government level and a proper structure and process of negotiations; that nothing can be agreed until everything is agreed and all relevant issues must be addressed in a full and comprehensive fashion. The purpose of real negotiations must be to bring about substantive and significant change on constitutional and political matters, demilitarisation and democratic rights.

``They need to be inclusive, with no item on the agenda allowed to become an insurmountable obstacle to progress and all negotiations to be conducted within an agreed time-frame.

``Many of these issues were dealt with in a positive way in Mr. Bruton's Finglas speech. But Mr. Major has chosen to fudge some of the important ones or ignore them.

``The Taoiseach's speech at Finglas gave a detailed breakdown of the Irish government's intentions. This is not matched in Mr. Major's comments.

``There is an understandable focus on Mr. Major's comments on decommissioning. I agree with him and Sinn Fein has said for some time that this issue must not block the negotiations. However Mr. Major has failed to indicate how this can be accomplished. Sinn Fein has always said that this and related issues can be dealt with and for example the Tánaiste has made a suggestion about this. What is Mr. Major's view on these suggestions?

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