[Sinn Fein]

28 September 1998

Is Trimble prepared to do business?

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP is today attending the Party's annual conference for Irish language activists - the Slogadh. The conference is being held in Clones, County Monaghan.

Speaking at the Slogadh the Sinn Fein President asserted that the current impasse in the peace process is not about decommissioning but about the reluctance of unionism to accept the principle of equality and the necessity of fundamental change. Mr. Adams said that while he can do business with Mr Trimble, `The real question is whether Mr Trimble will do business with me, or anyone else for that matter. None of us can do this entirely on our own terms.'

Mr Adams said:

``The current impasse in the peace process and the UUPs refusal to implement the Good Friday Agreement is not about the guns or the decommissioning issue. It is about the unionists refusal to fully embrace the kind of changes which are required if a genuine peace settlement is to be built. The divisions within unionism thus far are tactical. It is between those who won't countenance a new dispensation based upon equality and those who are prepared to do a deal, but only on their terms.

``That is what is underpinning the UUPs current position. Mr. Trimble has skilfully utilised the difficulties within unionism to point up decommissioning as a make or break issue for his leadership even though this involves a complete revision by him of the Good Friday Agreement. He knows that Sinn Fein have an automatic right to ministerial positions and in my view he is reconciled to that.

``But unionism historically has worked on the basis that it is in charge and it finds it difficult to embrace change and the notion of equality among all citizens. For many unionists their sense of being more equal than the rest of us is what makes them what they are.

``Mr Trimble leads the more enlightened sections of unionism but even they find it difficult to give up their veto, even though it has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self.

``I have already made it clear that I can and that I will do business with Mr Trimble. that remains my position and my intention. The real question is whether Mr Trimble will do business with me, or anyone else for that matter. None of us can do this entirely on our own terms.

``That my be hard for unionists to accept but it is the reality. Mr Trimble cannot say that he want `a pluralist Parliament for a pluralist people....' except for the republicans.''

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