Adams calls some elements in DUP 'bigots'

 

The standoff between Sinn Féin and the DUP was exacerbated last night after Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams told an American audience that there are elements in the DUP who are bigots and don't "want a Catholic about the place".

First Minister Peter Robinson described his overall comments as "outrageous".

Mr Adams said in Cleveland on Thursday night that the "gridlock" that has blocked meetings of the Northern Executive for almost four months now was caused because the DUP failed "to honour commitments it made in the St Andrews Agreement in October 2006".

"At this point it appears that the most reactionary elements in the party are dictating the pace of its engagements with the rest of us. This is the real reason for the current crisis.

"It lies in the DUP's refusal thus far to work the Executive as a partnership and powersharing government," he said.

"Some DUP representatives want to run the institutions in the same way unionism used to run the North - in their interests solely, even though the leadership knows this is not sustainable.

"It knows this is not acceptable and that Sinn Féin will not allow any return to unionist majority rule," added Mr Adams.

"In addition, there are clearly elements of the DUP who remain bigots; who really don't want to have a Catholic about the place. They are opposed to power-sharing in any form," he said.

"The fact that the DUP is in a powersharing arrangement with Sinn Féin means that these bigots are in a place they never expected to be: a partnership government in which the DUP leader Peter Robinson is in a shared joint ministry with Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, and in which neither can take any decision of worth without the approval of the other," he added.

Mr Adams, who is on a four-day tour in the US, said Sinn Féin was giving the DUP "time to adjust to the new dispensation" and was prepared to work through these difficulties.

Mr Robinson said Mr Adams's remarks were "outrageous" and untrue. He repeated that the St Andrews Agreement was an agreement between the British and Irish governments and that the DUP did not sign up to any timetable for devolving policing and justice

"It is false for Gerry Adams or any other member of Sinn Féin to claim that the DUP is in breach of any political obligations and furthermore Sinn Féin knows it is false," he said in Carrickfergus last night. "No matter how many times they repeat a falsehood concerning people's obligations, they will not alter reality."

Mr Robinson said Mr Adams's "suggestion that it is the DUP that is preventing partnership in the Executive is absurd given that it is Sinn Féin that is preventing the Executive from even meeting".