DUP accepts Good Friday Agreement - Adams
The DUP has accepted the principle of power sharing and dialogue with
Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams has said.
He was speaking on the Inside Politics programme marking the one-year
anniversary of the IRA's decision to end its armed campaign.
"In these issues the DUP have conceded the principle - in terms of
sharing power, the Good Friday Agreement, dialogue with Sinn Fein,"
In what is seen as a potential breakthrough in peace efforts, Mr Adams
said Ian Paisley was "playing for time" but accepted the inevitability
"So it's actually just a matter of, can they through this tactical
approach they are taking, garner some sort of support from the
governments for their position and can they put off the awful day, as
they would see it, as long as possible?" he said.
The DUP has publicly said that it wants to broker a new deal to replace
the 1998 Agreement, but it has not refuted Mr Adams's statement.
However, SDLP assembly member Sean Farren said claims that the DUP had
agreed to the principle of the Good Friday Agreement were false.
"The DUP has still has not accepted the Good Friday Agreement. All
have accepted is the failed flawed comprehensive agreement of 2004
negotiated with Sinn Fein," Mr Farren said, referring to a previous
round of negotiations which fell apart over Paisley's demands for the
humiliation of the IRA.
"That flawed agreement undermines the Good Friday Agreement's
protections and essentially provided for voluntary coalition between
DUP and Sinn Fein."
"It is not the way forward for any of us and the DUP need to recognise
He added that the people who voted in for the Good Friday Agreement
stil demanded its full implementation.
In wide ranging comments to mark the first anniversary of the formal
order by the IRA leadership to dump arms and embrace a political and
democratic way forward, Mr Adams contrasted opportunities and progress
in Ireland with other conflict situations around the world such as the
Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The West Belfast MP claimed "the ripples" from IRA concessions
Mr Adams described the IRA's decision to end its campaign as "pivotal"
but said he knew that "anti-IRA elements and anti-republican elements"
would not thank it for any of its moves.
The Dublin and London governments indicated this week that the IRA is
adhering to its commitments on the road to peace.
"When I was making my appeal in April of last year and then around
after the IRA announcement, I made the point that opponents of the
process of change weren't just going to roll over," Mr Adams said.
"I think when you are conscious of what is happening in other parts
the world the onus is on us to deliver so that we don't ever slip back
into what was happening here," he said.
"The fact is we have been so lucky and blessed to have got to this
point in the peace process."
However, Mr Adams said some of the 'no men' of unionism may resile from
what is the truth.
"The reality is that unionism needs saved from itself," he claimed.
The MP was asked if he thought that the peace process, having come so
far, could now be considered permanent.
"I suppose what I like now is the fact that young people take it
granted. I think it is terrific," he said.
But sectarianism remained a scourge for the North of Ireland.
"This is a dysfunctional statelet in which we live," he said.
"Unionism of course gets upset when somebody like me says that but
depth of the measures and the various guarantees and safeguards
contained in the Good Friday Agreement shows you how far we have had to
come to get any sort of a functioning equality ethos."
Mr Adams argued that the IRA had very much been the creator of the
peace process and a "guarantor" of it in terms of a majority
republican opinion. But he said it was also an unsettling process for
"I think it is to the credit of republicans that they have thought
way through," he said.
"Despite an unsettling process republicans have been very solid and
sound in that approach."
Mr Adams added this does not mean there aren't difficulties.
"Of course there are difficulties and our leadership is open to
criticism," he said.
"Does that mean that people when they have the opportunity to voice
that criticism don't voice it? Of course they do. And they are right to