Adams address at Easter commemoration in N. Belfast
Speaking at an Easter Commemoration in Ardoyne, North Belfast
this afternoon Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP said: "Sinn
Fein is certainly committed to making this process work. So too,
in my opinion, is the IRA. It has demonstrated its support for
the process on many occasions. That is why I say that a deal is
now do-able if there is the political will and if the dealmakers
are prepared to move forward now."
Mr. Adams said: "It is our view, and we have stated it often,
that all statements should be published and that all commitments
contained in them should be implemented."
The following is the full prepared text of the address.
There has been an understandable public focus on the efforts to
restart the political process and the failure so far to achieve
In the flurry of words, of claim and counter-claim, one thing has
become obscured. That is that the issues which are the core of
the Good Friday Agreement are the rights and entitlements of
Of course the political institutions cannot function unless the
political parties are committed to them. But all the other
issues, in particular the issues of equality - equality of
opportunity and parity of esteem - are basic and fundamental
rights to which there can be no pre-conditions or caveats.
The acknowledgement by the two governments that they have yet
fulfil the Good Friday Agreement is at the heart of the current
negotiations. Both governments admitted this failure and
committed themselves to fully implement outstanding aspects of
As the Taoiseach said on Sunday, 'They impact on all the key
areas - policing, criminal justice, security normalisation, (or
demilitarisation as we would put it), and the entrenchment of
human rights and equality at the heart of the new dispensationSum'
The governments were to publish a Joint Declaration. In
negotiations with them going back to last autumn Sinn Fein made
it clear that we wanted to see time-framed implementation plans
which in a transparent way set out a programme for the completion
of the Agreement.
In their Joint Declaration the governments also made certain
demands of the IRA. Now we are told that the governments will
only publish their proposals when they are satisfied with the
IRAs response to them.
Our party leadership has worked with a will to bring about
mutually satisfactory closure to this phase of negotiations. It
is our view, and we have stated it often, that all statements
should be published and that all commitments contained in them
should be implemented. The governments say No. At least at this
But if they refuse to publish their proposals what will be
Are we being told that people rights and entitlements will be
Are we being told that the outstanding aspects of the Agreement
which impact 'on all the key areas - policing, criminal justice,
security normalisation, (or demilitarisation as we would put it),
and the entrenchment of human rights and equality at the heart of
the new dispensationSum' are not going to be implemented?
We are told that the problem lies in a lack of clarity in the IRA
statement which is in possession of the two governments. There is
no lack of clarity in this statement. Maybe the problem is that
it does not use the exact words prescribed by the British
government. But the statement is very clear about IRA intentions.
It has also been welcomed by both governments as being positive
and showing a desire to make the peace process work. Such an IRA
statement and such a response from the two governments would have
been unthinkable a decade ago. It therefore defies logic that the
governments appear to be rejecting this development and the
potential it contains.
There has to be common sense in these matters.
No one expects that P O Neill should write the Joint Declaration
for the two governments. Alistair Campbell, the British Prime
Minister's senior PR person, would not expect or be expected to
act as spokesperson for the IRA.
If the problem at the moment is genuinely about the need to
restore confidence in the process then in my view there is enough
in all of the statements and commitments contained in them to do
this. In other words there is the makings of a deal. What are
needed now are dealmakers.
This brings us to the unionists. Do they want a deal at this
time? Are there dealmakers in the UUP leadership?
If there is a political will, this process can be brought forward
at this time, building on the progress made and creating both
stability and confidence as we collectively fulfil our
This needs everyone. The two governments the Ulster Unionist
Party and us, and the other parties working together.
I know there is a lot of unease within the republican
constituency, especially within the activist constituency. There
is also a lot of anger at the way in which the process has been
manipulated. But this is a time for steady nerves and cool heads.
Here in the republican heartland of Ardoyne, in the hinterland of
north Belfast you don't need to be told about the rights and
wrongs of the situation. You didn,t need a Stevens Report to tell
you there is collusion. You experienced it at first hand.
In north Belfast there has been what amounts to a continuous
pogrom against beleaguered nationalist communities.
Hundreds of families and homes have been attacked. Primary school
girls and their parents endured months of sectarian abuse and
physical attack going and coming from school.
Catholics were killed by unionist paramilitary murder gangs and
some young protestant people were killed in the mistaken belief
that they were Catholics.
There has also been provocation by the British Crown Forces, and
So no one needs peace more than the people of areas like this.
No one needs equality; no one needs their rights, more than you
do. And no one has been more resilient or determined or tenacious
in struggling for these rights than people like yourselves. And
when we say equality we mean equality for all.
Republicans are absolutely clear about that.
We do not want to visit upon unionists what their old regime or
successive British governments inflicted upon us.
The spirit and the letter of the 1916 Proclamation is about
cherishing all the children of the nation equally.
That means change, real change, in the same way that real peace
That is why in the time ahead there will be a need for continued
discipline within The republican constituency especially in areas
like this which are on the frontline and which are targeted on an
ongoing basis by reactionary elements who are afraid of change.
They may seize upon this impasse in the process. They may be more
provocative in the time ahead in their efforts to wreck the
vehicle of change. They want to destroy it and their tools are
bigotry and sectarianism.
They need to be starved of anything that would feed into their
efforts That means that Irish republicans need a deep well of
patience. We have to show by our words and our actions, or non-
actions ^ that we can advance our struggle in the time ahead.
Republicanism is a generous philosophy.
The bigots, securocrats, the unionist paramilitaries and their
handlers are about trying to wreck this process.
The unionist leaderships seem to be fixated with slowing down and
frustrating change. Who can blame them if the governments are
holding back on measures which they admit are needed to fully
implement outstanding aspects of the Agreement. The failure to
move now encourages those who want to stop all progress.
They will not and they cannot succeed. Of course they can delay
progress. But they cannot stop it. But they should not be
pandered to. Sinn Fein is certainly committed to making this
process work. So to in my opinion is the IRA, it has demonstrated
its support for the process on many occasions. That is why I say
that a deal is now do-able if there is the political will and if
the dealmakers are prepared to move forward now.
Only the two governments have the answer to that question.
For our part SF remains wedded to our objectives. In the short to
medium term that means being part of the process of change. At
times indeed we are the engine for change.
The 1916 Proclamation is our core manifesto. We want a new
republic on this island.