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November 30, 2004

News 11/30/04 - Adams Reacts to Paisley Sackcloth & Ashes Statement

Republicans Must Be Humiliated Says Paisley
11/30/04 06:43 EST

The Sinn Féin President, Mr Gerry Adams said today the
republican movement was "highly offended" by the Rev Ian
Paisley's assertion that republicans must be "humiliated"
and that they must wear "sackcloth and ashes".

Speaking before a meeting with Irish premier Bertie Ahern in
Government Buildings today, Mr Adams made his
dissatisfaction clear to reporters but said that both sides
needed to be moderate in their comments.

He said Sinn Féin had entered the negotiations "with a view
to getting the DUP over the line" and to get "a
comprehensive agreement" and that comments such as those
from Dr Paisley made it more difficult to marshal the
republican community.

Mr Adams said: "We're not about the politics of humiliation,
we're about the politics of liberation. We just have to be
temperate in our language. But let's not be diverted by any
of these comments."

He said that he would have to voice his concerns to Mr Ahern.

The Sinn Fein delegation, which included chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness, said the purpose of the meeting with Mr
Ahern was to "get in a row all the unresolved bits of this
tremendous chore we have set ourselves".

Mr McGuinness added: "As we move forward what we need is a
little bit of humility and a good deal of generosity."

The Democratic Unionist leader today repeated the comments
he made at the Ballymena meeting that "the IRA needs to be
humiliated. And they need to wear their sackcloth and ashes,
not in a backroom but openly. And we have no apology to make
for the stand we are taking," added Dr Paisley.

The speech was filmed by the BBC which broadcast his speech
last night. Neither government commented on Dr Paisley's remarks

This afternoon Dr Paisley is meeting the British Prime
Minister, Mr Blair, in London in a bid to resolve concerns
about future IRA disarmament.

On his way into the meeting Dr Paisley repeated his 'sack
cloth and ashes' comments but said the talks were moving in
the right direction.

"We are moving, I believe, in the right direction but there
are some very important matters that still have to be dealt
with and the most important matter is decommissioning.
Until the people of Northern Ireland see that the arms of
the IRA are put away ... we can't really look any further."

Sinn Féin are expected to discuss the scaling-down of
British military installations, policing, power-sharing and
other issues at their meeting with Mr Ahern.

The Taoiseach yesterday addressed republican concerns by
calling on the British to speed up demilitarisation. Talks
took place yesterday between the Sinn Féin leadership and
Northern Ireland 's most senior policeman, Chief Constable
Hugh Orde, in Downing Street.

Both sides describe the meeting as useful but republicans
were particularly anxious to ensure that the chief constable
could approve a massive programme of demilitarisation in
Northern Ireland in the event of a comprehensive peace
process deal.


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