Gerry Adams predicts non-traditional united Ireland
British ambassador says British royal family will help secure peace process
Brittish Ambassador to Ireland Dominic Chilcott, Rev Dr Heather Morris (former President Methodist Church in Ireland) and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD at the Mansion House, Dublin during the launch of the book Uncomfortable Conversations, an initiative for dialogue towards reconciliation. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said a united Ireland will emerge in future but it “may not be the one traditionally envisaged over the years”.
He said there would be Orange Order parades in a united Ireland. “We need to be able to consider transitional arrangements which could mean continued devolution to Belfast within an all-island structure,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of a Sinn Féin book, ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’, in Dublin’s Mansion House, Mr Adams spoke about being “beaten stupid” and “spread-eagled for hours” after being arrested in the past.
He said he was systematically beaten across the kidneys and back, before he collapsed and went unconscious.
Years later a man approached him at Stormont, saying: “I used to be a British soldier and I battered you when you were arrested, and I’m sorry.”
Mr Adams said he replied: “Do you promise not to do it again?”
He added: “He went away happy and I went away thinking I was a great guy.”
Also speaking at the launch, British ambassador Dominick Chilcott has said there will be more efforts by the British royal family and the wider British establishment to secure the peace process.
He said the road to a better future in Northern Ireland did not involve “trying to convert unionists into republicans or vice versa”.
“The grave developments in Northern Irish politics in recent weeks are a reminder that the road to normalisation there remains a long and windy one, with plenty of bumps,” he said.
“I am sure we all hope that talks will soon begin between the parties represented in Stormont to resolve the immediate crisis and enable the institutions to function as they are intended to do.
He said Prince Charles’ visit to the west of Ireland in May included a number of “highly significant” gestures of reconciliation.
“Prince Charles’ words and actions are not, I’m confident, the end of the efforts by the Royal Family and the British establishment more widely to secure the peace process and promote reconciliation in these islands.”
Mr Chilcott said Sinn Fein’s national chairman Declan Kearney was correct when he wrote in the book that the Irish and British governments and republicans and unionists were not bystanders to the conflict in the North.
“He is right. We must all rise to the challenge,” Mr Chilcott said.
The “great collective task” for political leaders and administrations was to overcome the legacy of the past and to build together a better future for everyone.
“The road to this better future begins with giving the other side a fair hearing. This is not about trying to convert unionists into republicans or vice versa,” he said. “But it is about restoring the humanity of the other side; developing, as it were, a sense of empathy with them.”