[Sinn Fein]

8 July 1997

Mowlam failed the first test - Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at a press conference this morning commented on the leaked document which reveals that the British government was planning to push the orange march down the Garvaghy Road.

Mr Adams said:

``This is clear evidence of a planned betrayal of the residents of the Garvaghy Road by this British government.

``As an Irish Republican I am not surprised by this British government's approach. British Secretary's of State come to this part of Ireland to defend British interests. British policy which lies at the heart of this conflict is based on the union and the union is founded on the unionist veto. So British policy is primarily concerned with defending the status quo.

At the weekend the unionists put the British Secretary of State to her first real test and she failed that test.''

Mr Adams added:

``After Tony Blair's pro union Belfast speech I warned then that the same officials working under Major are still making and implementing policy under Blair. They are still working to old script. They are still giving the same bad advice and still pursuing a security / military agenda.

``Dr Mowlan in refusing to look beyond the old agenda failed to fulfil her political responsibilities. But the responsibility also lies with Tony Blair. Either as Prime Minister he and his Ministers run this place on a political agenda or the people who want war and conflict and a security agenda run this place. Once again I think it has been shown that it is the security /military and intelligence people who are in charge.''

The Sinn Fein President placed emphasis on the role of the Irish government. He said:

``The onus is now on the Irish government to assertively state the case for equality of treatment. It needs in a thoughtful and intelligent way to apply itself to seeking international support for the rights of people in this part of Ireland to equality. It has to uphold the legitimacy of Irish unity as a policy objective and to outline a vision of generosity to the unionists- who are essentially afraid of change.''

In conclusion Mr Adams called on the British government to `` accept that all citizens are equal, that Irish nationalists and local residents have equal political and civil rights and that this government will respect those rights. In this instance that should mean the British government defending the rights of nationalists on the Lower Ormeau Road to refuse to allow a march by the Orange Order this weekend to pass through that area. Last weekends debacle should not be compounded by a replay this weekend.''

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