Gerry Adams insists Sinn Féin fully committed to policing
Adams addresses packed Dublin meeting in wake of release after McConville questioning
Broadcaster Eamon Dunphy and artist Robert Ballagh attending the Sinn Féin election rally held in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin last night. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Gerry Adams TD, leader of Sinn Féin, attending an election rally in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin last night. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
Addressing a packed meeting in Dublin, his first since his release from custody by the PSNI in Antrim on Sunday, he was sharply critical of the Taoiseach and the British government.
“When Martin McGuinness spoke about the danger to the process coming from the ‘dark side’ within the PSNI, the Taoiseach’s response was to suggest he should make a complaint to the Ombudsman. What about his responsibility?” he asked.
“The Taoiseach cannot pass the buck on this issue, nor can he trot out trite responses that have more to do with electoral concerns. The Irish people, North and South, endorsed the Good Friday agreement. It is the people’s agreement.
“The Taoiseach cannot pass his responsibility on this issue,” he said.
All taoisigh, he claimed, have been treated as junior partners [by the British]. “They behave as junior partners,” he said. “That doesn’t mean they have to be dogmatic, but it does mean they have to stand up for the Good Friday agreement.”
On the issue of addressing the legacy of the Troubles, Mr Adams said Sinn Féin accepted compromise proposals put forward by US envoys Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan earlier this year, which unionist parties rejected.
Unionists, he said, were “bred on a diet of no surrender”, and would not negotiate unless they had to. He urged a renewed effort to agree a strategy to address the past.
Referring to his arrest last week, Mr Adams said: “If there was a charge against me, I would have been charged. Be in no doubt.”
But he added: “Sinn Féin is for policing. Let no one raise any ripples around this.
“What is clear: we need accountable, civic, public service policing. It is also clear we have work to do yet to achieve it. That is what we are up for doing.
He said what had happened to Jean McConville was “dreadful and unjust”, and this was made worse because republicans were responsible.
“We cannot rail against British injustice unless we face up to injustices like this.”
Children today, he said, should be guaranteed the future that the McConville children and others did not have.