Gerry Adams says the ‘IRA was never defeated’
SF leader critical of Cameron as 10th anniversary of end of armed campaign occurs
Gerry Adams at a press conference in Dublin on July 28th, 2005, responding to the IRA announcement that its armed campaign was over. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.
A billboard on the nationalist Falls Road in west Belfast Thursday July 28th, 2005, as the IRA called on all its members to stand down from 4pm its armed campaign. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/PA.
Mr Adams, in a statement, referred to recent comments by British prime minister David Cameron where he said that “British resolve saw off the IRA’s assaults on our way of life”.
“This is a distortion of recent history. It also betrays a worrying ignorance on the part of a British premier of the dynamics which have propelled the Irish peace process for many years,” he said.
“The reality is that the IRA was never defeated and that again and again it was Irish republicans, including the IRA leadership, which took bold steps to bolster the peace process and to maintain positive political momentum.”
Mr Adams referred to how, on July 28th, 2005, the IRA formally said its armed campaign was over and “gave its support to purely peaceful and democratic means of achieving republican objectives”. IRA decommissioning happened in September 2005.
“David Cameron would do well to understand that it was such initiatives which broke the long cycle of conflict and opened up new political possibilities,” said Mr Adams.
He also described the first IRA ceasefire of August 1994 as “one of the defining developments of modern Irish history”.
But referring to the current deadlock over welfare changes that are threatening the Stormont institutions he said that the progress that was made over many years was now in “severe jeopardy”.
“The political structures negotiated so painstakingly as part of the Good Friday Agreement face collapse as a result of the British government’s ideologically driven austerity agenda,” he added.
“By slashing hundreds of millions of pounds from the finances of the North’s Executive, the British government has attacked the ability of the political institutions to deliver for citizens.”
Mr Adams added that over many decades, successive British governments invested “limitless financial resources to pursue a military agenda” in Northern Ireland.
“They now need to bring a similar commitment to building the peace. A new approach is required from the British government - one based on investment, which would allow the political institutions to grow and develop the economy for the benefit of all our citizens.”
He also accused the Irish Government of being “detached” and said its “attitude to the North is dictated by party political and selfish electoral considerations”.
“The Taoiseach needs urgently to take up his responsibilities towards citizens in the North and to be a champion of the peace process,” he said.
“In order to restore hope, to rescue the political institutions and re-establish positive political momentum, the British government must provide the Executive with the tools to invest in public services, grow the economy and address the legacy of the past. The British government needs to re-engage with the peace process.”