Adams still undecided on going to inquiry in the US

 

Sinn Féin president Mr Gerry Adams said last night it was his "instinct" to face tough US Congressional questions over the links between the IRA and the Colombian guerrilla force, FARC.

But following advice from aides, he said, he still had not decided whether to travel to Washington to answer questions from the House of Representatives International Relations Committee.

The committee asked the Sinn Féin MP to appear before them after the arrests in Colombia of three republicans, Mr Niall Connolly, Mr James Monaghan and Mr Martin McCauley, for allegedly helping to train FARC Marxist rebels.

At a press conference in Dublin Mr Adams said: "I have not, to tell you the truth, made up my mind on it yet. My own instinct is to go. I am being advised not to go, that it is a distraction, that there is another agenda. In due course we will decide what to do."

He cited a journalist in US who suggested "part of this agenda was to do with trying to get funding for the Colombian armed forces".

Mr Adams said he had been preoccupied with the forthcoming general election. Last night he was launching the election campaign of Dublin Central candidate Mr Nicky Kehoe, and will today reveal Sinn Féin's election manifesto.

He announced a commemorative event for families of IRA and Sinn Féin activists and other members of the "republican family" which will be held at a Dublin hotel on Saturday. The event named Tírghrá - "love of country" - will be attended by 2,000 people representing almost 450 families.

Mr Adams said: "The majority of these families are relatives of those who died in the last 30 years. But republican families from other phases of struggle, as far back as the 1920s, will be represented as well.

"This is intended as a tribute to these families. Their grief and loss and their sacrifice is very real. So too is their pride in their loved ones, as they are entitled," he said.