22nd June 1999
Bruton Stance Criticised - Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has criticised Fine Gael leader John Bruton's instruction to his party councillors not to enter into voting pacts with Sinn Fein. Mr. Adams said that these comments ``are also at odds with Mr. Bruton's comments during a meeting of our two parties on January 28th.''
Mr. Adams said:
``John Bruton's instruction to his party councillors not to enter into voting pacts with Sinn Fein is a sad reflection on his grasp of democratic principles and of his commitment to building inclusiveness and equality.
``Mr Bruton may think that he comments will in someway punish Sinn Fein or that his approach will have a positive influence on the decommissioning issue
``On the contrary his stance disregards the democratic rights and entitlements of the Sinn Fein electorate. It will not persuade any of the armed groups to disarm and indeed will lessen Sinn Fein's influence by setting to one side our mandate in the last election. I do not know if voting alliances between our parties are likely or indeed desirable. Sinn Fein disagrees with Fine Gael on many issues but for Mr. Bruton to demonise our electorate shows that he is out of touch with the needs and dynamics of this critical time.
``His remarks are also at odds with his comments during a meeting of our two parties on January 28th.
``A delegation of Sinn Fein were in Leinster House that day to lobby all of the parties on our submission to the all-party Oireachtas Committee on Constitutional Reform. This submission calls for the inclusion of northern representatives in political institutions in the south and for votes for all Irish citizens in Presidential elections and referenda.
``A senior Sinn Fein group led by myself met with Mr. Bruton in his offices that day. At this time there were rumours that the government might fall. At the beginning of our discussion Mr. Bruton told me that if there was a change of government and he was returned as Taoiseach, he would be doing his utmost to advance the peace process and that he wanted to make it absolutely clear that he was totally committed to this process.
``He told me that he would be obliged if I could say publicly that I was satisfied that this was the situation. I said that I would do so and in subsequent press briefings I said that I was satisfied that both the Taoiseach and the leader of the opposition were committed to the peace process.
``Mr. Bruton's stated position during that meeting is entirely at odds with his current position. He needs to jettison these old failed policies of exclusion and fully embrace the possibilities and imperatives of the peace process.''
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