SF LEADERS 'UNDER THREAT'
The lives of Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly
are under threat from hardline republicans, the party has confirmed.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said that a small number of disaffected
former IRA people and elements of various dissident groups, including
some members of the INLA, had come together, and that there was an
"active threat" to senior members of the Sinn Fein leadership.
The reports have been backed by the 26-County Taoiseach Bertie Ahern,
who said the three Sinn Fein leaders had been under threat for some
Mr Adams said he and his colleagues were taking extra precautions after
the fears were raised, but that he was "not losing sleep" over
Tension is growing in the North over demands by Ian Paisley's DUP that
Sinn Fein declare their support for the PSNI police (formerly RUC) in
the run-up to the November 24 political deadline for the nomination of
Ian Paisley as First Minister and Martin McGuinness as Deputy First
There is little support among republicans for the move to back a
long-despised British police force. Hardliners view even the Sinn Fein
leadership's consideration of the move in the course of the peace
process as evidence of treachery.
Mr Adams did not describe the nature of the threat, but said he had to
take decisions which "are in the interests of everyone in the
"I never discuss my personal security. We work in a dangerous
environment, especially when we are trying to bring about change.
Change is difficult. It is traumatic.
"I live in the real world, but I do not lose any sleep over this
of thing. We have to do what we have to do. I am not blase about this.
"I am not trying to do anything other than be part of a collective
effort to empower people, to inform people and in a leaderly way take
decisions which may or may not be in my best interest or in the
short-term interest of Sinn Fein, but are in the interests of everyone
in the long-term."
He warned that "reactionary elements" might seek to "exploit
"I am calling on people to ensure they are not being manipulated.
"I uphold people's right to express opinions on issues and encourage
frank, open comradely debate on any matter. However, the Sinn Fein
leadership is not going to be deflected from what we think is the right
thing to do for the republican struggle.
"We are not short-termers. We are long-termers. We think strategically.
We think about the future."
However, the reports drew a scathing response from the DUP's Ian
Paisley Jr, who described the alleged threats as "a pathetic attempt
get public sympathy".
"The public will have little sympathy for a party that has brought
these death threats upon themselves," the North Antrim Assembly member
"The fact is Sinn Fein, despite all their talk, have done nothing
encourage public support for policing hence their present difficulties.
Sinn Fein will receive little to no sympathy for their present
* Republican hardliners were believed to have carried out a
gun attack on a PSNI station in County Armagh at the weekend.
There were no reports of any injuries in what appeared to be a token
attack as the station is not open overnight.
The Continuity IRA had earlier left a landmine on the side of the road
near Roslea in County Fermanagh.
A caller using a recognised codeword phoned a local newspaper to say
that the main charge failed to detonate and after assessing the
situation the bomb was abandoned.
Attacks carried out by dissident group on commerical premises across
the north have cost more than 25 million pounds in just seven months,
British officials revealed last week.