21 December 1996
Shooting a matter of regret - Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams responding to the shooting by the IRA of an RUC officer escorting a unionist councillor in West Belfast last night, said:
``The IRA has denied it was targeting Democratic Unionist Party councillor Nigel Dodds. I accept that denial.
``But the incident has undoubtedly added to the trauma of families visiting the hospital - especially the Dodds family as they care for their gravely ill son Andrew.
``Unfortunately, this is not a unique occurrence - all armed groups have conducted armed actions on hospital property and the British Army are in control of part of the Royal Hospital complex.
``Despite this, and despite the provocative behaviour of the RUC and the British Army in West Belfast and the British Government and unionist arrogance, this incident is a matter of regret for me.''
``Those of us who are committed to creating the conditions for a democratic peace settlement cannot permit any incident to deflect us from this difficult task.
``On the contrary, last night's shooting attack must serve as an incentive for everyone genuinely committed to this goal to redouble our efforts.
``Some political representatives, including the local MP, who knows better, and loyalist spokespersons, have seized upon this incident to raise doubts about the on-going effort to re-establish a credible peace process.
``The success of myself and John Hume in creating, with others, the conditions for the IRA cessation of August 1994, which led to the loyalists' tactical cessation, speaks for itself.
``So, too, does our ability to create another opportunity, which was rejected by the British Prime Minister John Major only last month.
``That these efforts have yet to achieve a lasting peace, means that we must persevere in facing up to the challenges which all of this represents.
``The easy option would be to opt out as others have done and blame our opponents. Real political leadership demands more than that.'' ENDS
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