Adams accuses some Unionists of efforts to block peace process

Sinn Féin leader calls for positive leadership amongst Unionists

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams. Photograph: PA

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams. Photograph: PA


Some Unionists and senior figures in the British Establishment have fought a rearguard action over the last 15 years to block the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams said today.

“For example, there is no Bill of Rights for the north to protect the rights of citizens; there is no Acht na Gaeilge; there is no north-south consultative forum,” he told a London conference.

“In the week that saw the Finucane family bury their mother Kathleen – the British government has reneged on the commitment to hold an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane,” he said.

Meanwhile, Unionist elements have “stirred up” the “most naked sectarian elements of unionism stirred up for short term political purposes during the summer’s riots in Belfast.

“Hundreds of members of the PSNI have been injured, some seriously. Three weeks ago a young woman was shot five times by the UVF in East Belfast.

“The PSNI have accused that organisation of involvement in drug dealing, all forms of gangsterism, serious assaults and intimidation,” he told the conference, called to discuss the need for a united Ireland.

“Unionist leaders failed to stand up to this at a time when decisive positive leadership may have made a real difference. In stark contrast when so-called dissidents killed PSNI officers and British soldiers Martin McGuinness stood shoulder to shoulder with Peter Robinson and the Chief Constable to condemn those actions in assertive, clear and robust language. There was no equivocation by Martin. No delay. He showed leadership,” said Mr Adams.

Implicitly criticising Northern Ireland’s First Minister, the Democratic Unionist Party’s Peter Robinson, Mr Adams called for “positive leadership’ amongst Unionism.

“That’s what unionism needs. Positive leadership to build the process; to take a stand against illegal marches, sectarianism and violence, and the provocative actions of the Orange Order in Belfast. I retain the hope that such leadership will develop,” he went on.

However, the SF leader did praise Mr Robinson for his decision last week to acknowledged the GAA’s contribution to better community relations in NI.

“Peter Robinson expressed the need for respect. I agree with him completely. The GAA has indeed played a very significant role in encouraging better community relations.

“One thing that most sportspeople have for their rivals is respect. Politicians could learn a lot from that ethos,” Mr Adams told the London conference.