Sir, - I note that following the tragic slayings in Lurgan the Sinn Fein leader, Mr Adams, has stated that he will not condemn the action of the Provisional IRA because he wants to move beyond the politics of condemnation. It should be brought to Mr Adams' attention that it is quite impossible to move beyond some place you have never been.

Mr Adams has scrupulously avoided condemning any atrocity committed by the IRA, although neither he nor his comrades are at all reluctant to condemn virtually all the mainstream democratic parties. Perhaps before he "moves beyond the politics of condemnation" he will find it in his heart to condemn this latest outrage. Failure to do this will confirm the view of many of us that there is an integral organic link between his movement and the Provisional IRA which must morally implicate all the Sinn Fein leadership in the cynical and barbarous activities of their armed colleagues.

The overwhelming majority of people on this island do wish to move beyond the politics of condemnation and into the politics of constructing a just and lasting peace. To facilitate this I believe it would be useful if the British and Irish governments and the various strands of unionism dropped their demand for decommissioning.

The reason I say this is a practical one. There is no realistic method of ascertaining that any handover of weapons and explosives would be complete. We would simply have to trust the IRA, not an organisation which has proved itself particularly trustworthy in the past. Secondly, even if they were to hand over the bulk of their military materials, it would be a comparatively easy matter for them to rearm. What needs to be removed from the equation is not simply the physical weapons of death but the impulse that leads people on both sides to use them.

By dropping this demand and including Sinn Fein in the talks its last alibi would be gone and it would be clear for all to see whether it had in fact abandoned its fascist roots and was prepared to commence the difficult role of democratic politics. - Yours, etc.,

Seanad Eireann, Dublin 2.