[Sinn Fein]

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

Sinn Fein Press Office, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Tel: +353-1-8726100 and +353-1-8726839   ·   Fax +353-1-8733074
E-mail: sinnfein@irlnet.com   ·   Website: http://www.sinnfein.org

Released in the US by:

Friends of Sinn Fein, 510 C Street, NE, Washington DC 20002
Tel: +1-202-547-8883   ·   Fax +1-202-547-7889
E-mail: fosf@nicom.com   ·   Website: http://www.sinnfein.org

Sinn Fein   ·   Sinn Fein Documents
Web publication by rm@serve.com
Web archival by iig@www.utexas.edu