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April 06, 2005

Adams: An Address to the IRA

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Apr 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 04/06/05
An Address To The IRA
NY 04/06/05 SF Leader Offers IRA Alternative To Violence
IT 04/07/05 Judge Statement By What IRA Does, Says Ahern
IT 04/07/05 Paisley Calls Speech An Insult
IT 04/07/05 Only Way Ahead Is IRA Disbandment
IT 04/07/05 Adams: Bringing IRA To 'Fork In The Road'
BB 04/06/05 IRA Peace Plea Response Awaited
BB 04/06/05 What Do You Think Of Sinn Fein's IRA Appeal?
IE 04/06/05 Charge People, Says IAUC
IT 04/07/05 McCartneys Meet MEPS And Barroso In Brussels
IT 04/07/05 £9,000 May Relate To Bank Raid
IT 04/07/05 Two Questioned Over 1974 Murder


An Address To The IRA

Published: 6 April, 2005

The following is the text of a speech by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

I want to speak directly to the men and women of Oglaigh na hEireann, the volunteer
soldiers of the Irish Republican Army.

In time of great peril you stepped into the Bearna Baoil, the gap of danger. When others
stood idly by, you and your families gave your all, in defence of a risen people and in
pursuit of Irish freedom and unity.

Against mighty odds you held the line and faced down a huge military foe, the British
crown forces and their surrogates in the unionist death squads.

Eleven years ago the Army leadership ordered a complete cessation of military
operations. This courageous decision was in response to proposals put forward by the
Sinn Fein leadership to construct a peace process, build democratic politics and
achieve a lasting peace.

Since then despite many provocations and setbacks the cessation has endured.

And more than that, when elements within the British and Irish establishments and
rejectionist unionism delayed progress, it was the IRA leadership which authorised a
number of significant initiatives to enhance the peace process.

On a number of occasions commitments have been reneged on. These include
commitments from the two governments.

The Irish Republican Army has kept every commitment made by its leadership.

The most recent of these was last December when the IRA was prepared to support a
comprehensive agreement. At that time the Army leadership said the implementation of
this agreement would allow everyone, including the IRA, to take its political objectives
forward by peaceful and democratic means.

That agreement perished on the rock of unionist intransigence. The shortsightedness of
the two governments compounded the difficulties.

Since then there has been a vicious campaign of vilification against republicans, driven
in the main by the Irish government. There are a number of reasons for this.

The growing political influence of Sinn Fein is a primary factor.

The unionists also for their part, want to minimise the potential for change, not only on
the equality agenda but on the issues of sovereignty and ending the union.

The IRA is being used as the excuse by them all not to engage properly in the process
of building peace with justice in Ireland.

For over thirty years the IRA showed that the British government could not rule Ireland
on its own terms. You asserted the legitimacy of the right of the people of this island to
freedom and independence. Many of your comrades made the ultimate sacrifice.

Your determination, selflessness and courage have brought the freedom struggle
towards its fulfillment.

That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I say this with the authority of
my office as President of Sinn Fein.

In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle. I did so
because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind
eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.

Now there is an alternative.

I have clearly set out my view of what that alternative is. The way forward is by building
political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning
support for these goals internationally.

I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann
to fully embrace and accept this alternative.

Can you take courageous initiatives which will achieve your aims by purely political and
democratic activity?

I know full well that such truly historic decisions can only be taken in the aftermath of
intense internal consultation. I ask that you initiate this as quickly as possible.

I understand fully that the IRAs most recent positive contribution to the peace process
was in the context of a comprehensive agreement. But I also hold the very strong view
that republicans need to lead by example.

There is no greater demonstration of this than the IRA cessation in the summer of 1994.

Sinn Fein has demonstrated the ability to play a leadership role as part of a popular
movement towards peace, equality and justice.

We are totally commited to ending partition and to creating the conditions for unity and
independence. Sinn Fein has the potential and capacity to become the vehicle for the
attainment of republican objectives.

The Ireland we live in today is also very different place from 15 years ago. There is now
an all-Ireland agenda with huge potential.

Nationalists and republicans have a confidence that will never again allow anyone to be
treated as second class citizens. Equality is our watchword.

The catalyst for much of this change is the growing support for republicanism.

Of course, those who oppose change are not going to simply roll over. It will always be
a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to
maintain the status quo. But if republicans are to prevail, if the peace process is to be
successfully concluded and Irish sovereignty and re-unification secured, then we have
to set the agenda - no one else is going to do that.

So, I also want to make a personal appeal to all of you - the women and men volunteers
who have remained undefeated in the face of tremendous odds.

Now is the time for you to step into the Bearna Baoil again; not as volunteers risking life
and limb but as activists in a national movement towards independence and unity.

Such decisions will be far reaching and difficult. But you never lacked courage in the
past. Your courage is now needed for the future.

It won‚t be easy. There are many problems to be resolved by the people of Ireland in the
time ahead. Your ability as republican volunteers, to rise to this challenge will mean that
the two governments and others cannot easily hide from their obligations and their
responsibility to resolve these problems.

Our struggle has reached a defining moment.

I am asking you to join me in seizing this moment, to intensify our efforts, to rebuild the
peace process and decisively move our struggle forward.


Sinn Fein Leader Offers I.R.A. An 'Alternative' To Violence

By Alan Cowell

Published: April 7, 2005

ONDON, April 6 - Gerry Adams, the leader of the Sinn Fein political wing of the Irish
Republican Army, urged I.R.A. fighters on Wednesday to pursue their goals through
politics as an alternative to "armed struggle."

His statement, made under strong political pressure and read to reporters in Belfast,
seemed to be the closest he had come in public to urging the I.R.A. to renounce
violence and transform itself into an open political movement from a secretive,
underground guerrilla force.

But the initial response from the British and Irish governments and from Protestants in
Northern Ireland was that they would wait for action from the I.R.A. rather than rely on
words from Mr. Adams. Some of his adversaries dismissed his comments as a political

But Mr. Adams, saying, "The struggle can now be taken forward by other means,"
insisted that he was offering an alternative to the violence that has claimed 3,000 lives
in Northern Ireland.

"In the past, I have defended the right of the I.R.A. to engage in armed struggle," he
said, speaking at the start of campaigning for the May 5 elections to the British

"I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or
turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic. Now there is
an alternative.

"I have clearly set out my view of what the alternative is," he said. "The way forward is
by building political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and
by winning support for these goals internationally."

Mr. Adams stopped short of calling on the I.R.A. specifically to disarm or disband, and
other Sinn Fein officials declined to say whether the statement represented a formal call
on the I.R.A. to disband at a time when Northern Ireland's peace efforts are stalled and
its power-sharing authority is suspended.

He delivered his statement, which some critics said was intended to strengthen his
position as a candidate for Parliament, after the I.R.A. was blamed in two crimes in
Belfast, a $50 million bank robbery last December and the killing in January of Robert
McCartney, a Northern Ireland Catholic. These incidents have threatened to discredit
Sinn Fein and its hitherto successful efforts to build political support in Northern Ireland
and the Irish Republic.

Mr. McCartney's sisters have pressed to bring his killers to justice. The campaign
culminated in a visit to Washington last month, when United States politicians, including
President Bush, met with the sisters but snubbed Mr. Adams. The killing hurt the
standing of the I.R.A., once seen as defenders of Northern Ireland's Catholics against
their British rulers but now depicted as criminals by many former supporters.

"Our struggle has reached a defining moment," Mr. Adams told I.R.A. fighters. "I am
asking you to join me in seizing this moment, to intensify our efforts, to rebuild the
peace process and decisively move our struggle forward."

The I.R.A. had no immediate response. Mr. Adams himself is widely held by his critics
and others to command senior rank in the I.R.A. But he has not acknowledged that in

In February, the I.R.A., which supports one Irish state free of British control, left peace
talks in Northern Ireland. It also rescinded offers made last December to disarm and
cease paramilitary activities.

Some specialists in Irish politics said Mr. Adams was trying to return to the situation last
December when the offer to disarm and Protestant demands for photographic evidence
of the destruction of I.R.A. arms were under negotiation.

"You have to say, ideologically, that it is selling the same horse twice," said Paul Bew,
professor of politics at Queens University, Belfast, referring to Sinn Fein's tactics. But
the Rev. Ian Paisley, a hard-line Protestant leader in Northern Ireland, insisted that Sinn
Fein had placed itself beyond negotiations. "There is no place in any democracy for
terrorists and no place for I.R.A./Sinn Fein," he said.

In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said the "key will be what the I.R.A. does
as a result." In Dublin, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said Mr. Adams' statement was
"significant and has potential."

Brian Lavery contributed reporting from Dublin for this article.


Judge Statement By What IRA Does, Says Ahern

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

The Taoiseach has said Gerry Adams's call for the IRA to end its "armed struggle" and
fully embrace politics can only be judged on the basis of what the IRA does next.

Mr Ahern's conditional welcome yesterday for the Adams statement came as Opposition
leaders expressed scepticism over its timing and sincerity.

Mr Ahern said that Mr Adams' statement was "significant and has potential". But he
added: "Ultimately this statement can only be judged on the basis of the IRA's actions
on foot of it."

Suggesting that Mr Adams' statement could be related to the upcoming Westminster
elections he said: "We are mindful that the elections are now underway and naturally
approach any comments made in that environment with some caution."

He said that nothing less than "a complete and decisive end to all IRA activity and
capability" was acceptable if there was to be any prospect of achieving inclusive politics
in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ahern said it was vital that the IRA's consultations be concluded in a timely manner
"and that everyone will know that the necessary steps have been taken, that they will be
adhered to and that the IRA is thus moving on".

"For so many years we have had false dawns and dashed hopes," he added. "The last
few months in particular have crystallised the challenges that must be addressed. The
crisis of trust and confidence is profound and will not easily be repaired. Only a
complete transformation of the situation will generate the energy needed to move
beyond the current stalemate and realise the full potential of the Good Friday

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the efforts by Sinn Féin to bill this speech as "the
most significant made by Gerry Adams for many years" was an insult to people's
intelligence. It came at a time when the IRA was "mired in a web of criminality, from the
Northern Bank raid to the brutal murder of Robert McCartney".

"Rather than more so-called 'significant' speeches, I want to see real action from the
republican movement . . . Only action to end their involvement with weapons,
paramilitarism and crime will convince the Irish people that they are serious about
democratic politics."

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said it was a bizarre situation that a man who has
been publicly identified as a member of the IRA's army council is "appealing to IRA
members, presumably including himself, to take a particular course of action".

He said Mr Adams's appeal to the IRA to "fully embrace fully political and democratic
means" was to be welcomed to the extent that it was intended to be construed as an
attempt to move the peace process forward. However, it also involved "a very belated
recognition of the IRA's refusal so far to embrace either politics or democracy".

© The Irish Times


Paisley Calls Speech An Insult

Dan Keenan

Unionists reacted with hostility to Gerry Adams's address to the IRA yesterday, with
the Democratic Unionists claiming no-one would be duped.

Ian Paisley described Gerry Adam's address as "an insult to democrats" and said "no
one will be taken in".

" I don't think there is any hope for Sinn Féin and the IRA," he said.

Mr Paisley added: "There must be a complete and total abandonment of IRA/Sinn Féin
and that's not going to happen. The DUP won't be back in any negotiating table. He [
Gerry Adams] has put himself outside the arena. It is all over. There is no place in any
democracy for terrorists and no place for IRA/Sinn Féin."

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble challenged Mr Adams's claims and denied
republicans had kept to every commitment.

"Republicans made a promise to Ulster Unionists in May 2000 that they would disarm
completely and in a manner to maximise public confidence. They also promised in that
statement to pursue their objectives peacefully and democratically. These promises
were not kept," he said.

"If republicans wish to be included in talks then they must rebuild their credibility by
doing all the things they should have done and present themselves as a purely peaceful
democratic movement with no private army."

The SDLP said what mattered was not Gerry Adams's words but IRA actions.

Deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell said it remained to be seen whether the IRA would
end its activities, including involvement in organised crime.

"People know that it is actions - not words - that count. They will want to know that the
IRA is ending all its activity and all its organised crime for good."

Alliance leader David Ford said the Sinn Féin president had still to indicate whether
republicans "are prepared to accept the same common standards of democracy, human
rights and the rule of law as everyone else".

© The Irish Times


Only Way Ahead Is IRA Disbandment

After months of agonising over the need for republicans to make "hard choices .. .hard
decisions", the president of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, has finally called on members of
the IRA to abandon the option of armed struggle, to embrace democratic and peaceful
means and to join as activists in a national movement towards independence and unity.

The initiative has considerable significance. For the first time, Mr Adams has called
publicly and formally on the IRA to take themselves out of the political equation. The full
authority of Mr Martin McGuinness and Mr Gerry Kelly and other prominent republicans
has been placed behind it. If the IRA was to reject the overture, a formal split between
Sinn Féin and the IRA would be inevitable, with the latter organisation continuing its
paramilitary and criminal activities. In such a situation, the Democratic Unionist Party
would reject any dealings with Sinn Féin.

The timing of the speech is hardly coincidental. Sinn Féin is effectively playing the IRA
card as it prepares to contest the Westminster and local government elections in
Northern Ireland. Once again, nationalist voters are being asked to trust Sinn Féin and
to support its candidates in the belief that an end to IRA activity is in sight and that
peace, justice and power-sharing can be secured under the terms of the Belfast
Agreement. It may be so, but on the basis of past failures, it is asking a lot of the

The Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney have placed Sinn Féin
on the defensive. At the same time, the manner in which the IRA maintains control of
nationalist areas in Northern Ireland and engages in a wide range of criminal activities
has come in for close scrutiny and growing criticism at home and abroad. Last month,
Sinn Féin was frozen out of previously friendly venues in the United States. And the
SDLP dared to hope it could regain some of the political ground it lost in recent years.

The internal debate now initiated by Mr Adams may not be completed until after the
elections. There is no certainty about the outcome. It remains to be seen whether it is a
genuine attempt to move the political situation forward. It would seem, on the face of it,
that Mr Adams has placed himself on a road of no return vis-a-vis the IRA and its
activities. Sinn Féin would move along the political path, he said, building support in
Ireland and internationally. But Mr Adams made no reference to the critical issue of
policing. He declined to take questions.

The Sinn Féin president is seeking to regain international credibility and political
momentum by proposing the transformation of the IRA with no strings attached. He has
not spelt out any of the detail. What is important to remember, however, is that the bar
has been raised for Sinn Féin and the IRA since the Northern Bank robbery and the
murder of Robert McCartney. Nothing short of demonstrable disbandment is credible
any longer.

© The Irish Times


Adams Puts Full Weight Behind Bringing IRA To 'Fork In The Road'

Despite reasons to be suspicious of Adams's speech, logic dictates it makes sense to
see in the statement real potential for political movement, writes Gerry Moriarty,
Northern Editor.

At the start of a crucial election campaign in the North people could be forgiven for
viewing Gerry Adams's "address to the IRA" yesterday as cynical. Time will tell. But if
this is an opportunistic exercise then the person who would suffer most severely is
Gerry Adams.

He has asked the IRA leadership the hardest of questions - to quit the stage - and if he
doesn't get the required response then it would seem Adams is out on a shaky limb.

Whatever about the IRA, it seems that Adams has finally arrived at that "fork in the
road" previously mentioned by British prime minister Tony Blair, and that he has
decided to keep to a strictly peaceful path, beckoning the IRA behind him to follow.

Adams in his speech yesterday left no room for himself to return along that road to that
happier point of prevarication and ambiguity with which republicans are so comfortable.
If the IRA does not follow, then what does it say for Gerry Adams's leadership of the
broad republican movement?

Initial thoughts, nonetheless, must be that this is a shallow exercise designed to put
Sinn Féin in the good books of the wider nationalist electorate after the self-inflicted
damage caused by the murder of Robert McCartney, the alleged IRA robbery of the
Northern Bank and the allegations of "Rafia" money laundering.

But, while always maintaining healthy suspicions, deeper reflection says that this
appears bigger than that, much bigger potentially.

Adams, whom Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and many others have claimed is
an IRA army council leader, asked the IRA to go away yesterday. Martin McGuinness,
another alleged IRA army council member, was at his shoulder when he posed his
question, so was Gerry Kelly, while the West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty, another
senior republican, was over in London briefing journalists about how significant Adams's
statement was.

The old gag about the Sinn Féin president looking in the mirror to find out how the IRA
will respond inevitably springs to mind. You would expect at least he would receive a
positive answer when the IRA reacts to the critical questions he asked the paramilitary
organisation in Belfast yesterday afternoon. If he doesn't, then Adams and the rest of us
are in serious trouble.

SDLP and unionist politicians unsurprisingly portrayed Adams's speech as hollow and
self-serving, a ruse to beef up the prospects of Mitchel McLaughlin winning John
Hume's old Foyle seat from SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

The governments were more positive, however, but guarded as well. They know this
could be Adams selling them another pup but nonetheless were cautiously optimistic.

"Gerry Adams's appeal to the IRA is significant and has potential. However, ultimately
this statement can only be judged on the basis of the IRA's actions on foot of it," said
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Added British prime minister Tony Blair's official spokesman, "This clearly is a
significant and welcome statement by Gerry Adams. Obviously the key will be what the
IRA does as a result, and it is on that that the final judgment will be made."

It's worth examining just how Adams posed that historic question to the IRA. He praised
the IRA for its commitment to the "struggle" for a united Ireland and, critically, added:
"That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I say this with the authority of
my office as president of Sinn Féin."

There is an alternative to IRA activity, he was saying, while placing the full weight of his
authority as a republican leader behind it.

"The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic
objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally," he
said. (In case there was any doubt about what he meant, Mr McGuinness on RTÉ
yesterday said Adams was saying the way forward was by "purely political and
democratic means".)

Mr Adams then put it to the IRA: "I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the
leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann to fully embrace and accept this alternative. Can you
take courageous initiatives which will achieve your aims by purely political and
democratic activity?" There doesn't seem to be any ambiguity there about leaving
violence behind.

Mr Adams gave the IRA time to respond. Therefore the answer may not come until after
polling day on May 5th, which would again trigger concern that this is a stunt to build
credibility in the face of the elections after so much was lost by the allegations of
monumental IRA criminality.

But as Mr Adams said when the DUP tentatively opened up the possibility of power-
sharing with Sinn Féin, once you head down that road you can never turn back. Mr
Adams by this statement is moving in an unequivocally different direction to the IRA and
expecting it to follow.

He is doing so unilaterally, so to speak. He is not doing so based on the choreographed
deal that was available from the DUP and the governments in December but simply
based on Gerry Adams dealing one-to-one with P O'Neill.

That deal obviously would be up for grabs later, but as Adams himself pointed out,
achieving that deal will be a "battle a day", such is the current unionist antipathy and
distrust of anything that is said or done by republicans.

If the answer from the IRA isn't perfect then surely Sinn Féin and elements of the IRA
must go their separate ways. That need not necessarily mean a split. At the very least
you would expect that most of the IRA would embark on the road less travelled by that
particular organisation and say Yes to Adams.

It could mean some IRA members, as happened after the first IRA ceasefire in 1994,
simply walking away from the organisation and some others joining dissident groups.

It could also mean that, as Mr Adams said yesterday, this really is a "defining moment"
for the republican movement.

That depends on Mr Adams being genuine. There are many out there who, for good
reason, won't believe him. That's understandable, but whether or not he is being
duplicitous, surely the old cosy relationship between the IRA and Sinn Féin can never
be the same again.

It makes sense to be suspicious of this statement. But logic says it also makes sense to
see real potential here for political movement in the autumn or sometime thereafter.

A senior London source put it well. "Given recent events nobody can be surprised if
people are cynical about this. But equally, if you look at this coldly, the view must be
that what Gerry Adams said is significant."

© The Irish Times


IRA Peace Plea Response Awaited

Politicians are waiting to see if the IRA will respond to pleas from Gerry Adams to
abandon violence and embrace the Northern Ireland political process.

The Sinn Fein leader said the climate was now right for the IRA to "fully embrace and
accept" democratic means.

Downing Street said the statement was "significant" but opponents say they want IRA
action, not Sinn Fein words.

Republicans have been under pressure since the £26.5m Northern Bank raid and the
killing of Robert McCartney.

'Defining moment'

US Senator Edward Kennedy also refused to meet Mr Adams during St Patrick's week
celebrations because of the IRA's "ongoing criminal activity".

Mr Adams said the IRA had "kept every commitment made by its leadership" but the
struggle had "reached a defining moment" and he appealed for members to move

He said the text of his statement had been given to the leadership of the IRA.

"For over 30 years, the IRA showed that the British government could not rule Ireland
on its own terms," he said.

"You asserted the legitimacy of the right of the people of this island to freedom and

"Many of your comrades made the ultimate sacrifice. Your determination, selflessness
and courage have brought that freedom struggle forward towards its attainment."

'Bend the knee'

Mr Adams said that in the past he had defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed

"I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee or
turn a blind eye to oppression or for those who wanted a national republic. Now there is
an alternative.

"The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic
objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said it appeared Mr Adams had begun to accept that there
was no reason for the IRA to exist, but the statement may have been an attempt to ease
the pressure on Sinn Fein.

"That's why it is action from the IRA that counts - not words from Sinn Fein," he added.

DUP leader Ian Paisley said: "The unionist population have proved him in the past to be
an absolute deceiver and a liar and this is just another political stunt promoting himself
as a democrat."

'Rebuild credibility'

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said: "If republicans wish to be included in talks
then they must rebuild their credibility by doing all the things they should have done and
present themselves as a purely peaceful democratic movement with no private army."

Shadow Northern Ireland spokesman David Liddington said people needed to see
evidence of permanent change within the republican movement.

"Trust can only be built on actions, not just words," the Conservative spokesman said.

Talks last year failed to restore devolution, which stalled amid claims of IRA intelligence
gathering at Stormont in 2002.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/04/07 03:53:46 GMT



What Do You Think Of Sinn Fein's IRA Appeal?

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has urged the IRA to engage in a political process for
peace in Northern Ireland.

Speaking in Belfast at the launch of his party's election campaign Mr Adams asked
members to "fully embrace and accept" democratic means.

However, DUP leader Ian Paisley said that Sinn Fein had put themselves beyond the
pale as far as the political process was concerned.

SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell said the public see that a vote for Sinn Fein
"gives the IRA no incentive to clean up its act" and are sceptical of any promises of

What do you think of Sinn Fein's appeal to the IRA? Do you think it will have any affect
on the peace process? Send us your views.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This is bad news for Paisley. If Sinn Fein and the IRA manage to eliminate the
republican weapons issue, He's going to have to come up with some new way to stall a
process which he himself signed up to.

Bernard Fitzsimons, Huddersfield UK

Violence has no place in a democratic country

Peter Jamieson

Violence has no place in a democratic country. Wherever you are, if you think the IRA,
or any violent organisation supported by any "Unionist" force, has any part to play in the
future of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, or any future reconfiguration of the two, you
really must be a very naive or stupid person. Would you accept such violence where
you live? If so, why? And how could it be resolved?

Peter Jamieson

The IRA have become Irelands mafia, they will never disarm and mealy-mouthed
Adams knows it.

Brian Spooner, Gent, Belgium

Nothing more than cynical and political opportunism motivated by the forthcoming

Chris Clarke, Surrey

Sadly Sinn Fein and the IRA are staring defeat in the face. They will never achieve a
united Ireland by the bullet or the ballot box and they are now confronted with a Unionist
majority that is prefers Ian Paisley over moderate Unionist opinion. The current situation
must be a disaster for them and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there aren't splits in the
republican movement.

Richard , United Kingdom

Once again all the positive pro agreement words coming from republicans whilst the
DUP remains intransigent. Surely it's Paisleys turn to be vilified.

David Rees, Nyon, Switzerland

More insincere hypocritical nonsense from Gerry Adams aimed at the election

Alex, Limerick Ireland

As other contributors have stated, until the IRA hands in its weapons and explosives,
and until Sinn Fein completely disowns the IRA, severs all connections with it and fully
supports the PSNI, including handing over all criminals wanted by the police, then no
one should believe a word Adams says.

Peter Larrad, Manchester, England

Does he honestly think we are stupid enough to believe this is sincere?

Andrew Hall, Worcester, England

Who is he fooling? Does he honestly think we are stupid enough to believe this is

Andrew Hall, Worcester, England

I think it's a great step forward, not that I agree with everything SF say or do. I just hope
that loyalist & unionist parties have the same courage that SF have shown. Let us not
forget there are problems on the other side of the fence as well. I hope SF can achieve
what they are trying to. It would be happier times for everyone especially the youth

Sid, Belfast Ireland

A welcome and brave statement from Gerry Adams. Urging the IRA to engage in a
political process is however, the only sensible option left for Mr Adams. May I personally
urge ALL involved in the Northern Ireland peace process - JUST GET ON WITH IT!

Ian, Belfast

Progress but, as ever, Adams really just sits on the fence, afraid to go the extra mile for
fear of causing a split on his own side. No matter what the circumstances, terrorism
was, is, and always will be wrong for all of us who embrace democracy. You might
disagree with many of the Pope's views but he will go down in history as a man who
was not afraid to go the extra mile. Sadly Adams does not have any such courage and it
is a crying shame.

Martin, Dublin, Ireland

Adams appears to have staked a lot by proposing this in such a public way

James Scobbie, Scotland

Adams appears to have staked a lot by proposing this in such a public way. Its a pity we
don't see many other Northern Irish politicians also calling for their related paramilitaries
to give up the threat and fear of violence.

James Scobbie, Scotland

It obviously takes a cold shoulder from their American supporters to drag the Irish
republicans away from their precious weapons. But whatever the reason, lets hope this
belated move towards "entirely peaceful means" is more than just cynical pre-election
political rhetoric.

Paul Holden, UK

Sounds like too little, too late to me. The killers of Robert McCartney still haven't come
forward, and they make this announcement on the day after the election is announced!
Clutching at straws it seems to me!

Matt Morris, Bristol, UK

If the IRA gave up all of their armoury tomorrow, the unionists would find something else
to stall the peace process.

Gerry, Glasgow, Scotland

Leaving aside the quips about Adams appealing to himself, is this just electioneering?
Does anyone believe that a vote for Sinn Fein will be a vote to disband the IRA?

Austin Lane, Belgium

They are more likely to listen to him than anybody

Kevin Humphreys, Liverpool England

It's a step in the right direction also he isn't hindering any progress by appealing to the
IRA. Let's face it they are more likely to listen to him than anybody.

Kevin Humphreys, Liverpool England

It's a big ask Adams is making of the IRA. What's more, he's doing so from a position of
weakness. If the Republican movement could have kept its nose clean until after a
successful election then a proactive appeal from Adams would have stood a better
chance of compliance. As it is, there will be a perception that he is bowing to pressure
from unionists, from Brits, and from the 26 county-ists in Dublin. This makes it a high
stakes gamble for Adams' political career.

Duncan, Edinburgh, UK

Northern Ireland is lucky to have Gerry Adams. Unless Adams and those involved with
the IRA are encouraged to live in peace, another generation will rise to bloodily
complete the work of this republican generation. History tells us that this is fact rather
than prediction. It is evident that politicians of all parties see this as the way forward and
they too, if Adams succeeds, deserve much credit as do the poor old British, who for 30
years held the fort through thick and thin with a philosophical resignation which defies

Tom, London UK

This looks promising as Adams does not usually speak out unless he thinks he can
deliver. Clearly the reaction to the bank robbery and murder have forced the issue.
Perhaps the IRA will split and Adams will claim the war is finally over. I doubt that the
gangsters will continue to operate.

John Meek, Wallasey, England

The shining courage of the McCartney sisters reasserted the voice of a decent society

Fin Keegan, Las Vegas, United States

The IRA bungled the de facto mandate given them by the republican community when
civil rights were denied to Catholics in the late 1960s. Rather than defend their people
though, the IRA succumbed to a harebrained ideological dream, which quickly devolved
into death worship and, more recently, a brutal criminality. The shining courage of the
McCartney sisters reasserted the voice of a decent society too long silenced by shame,
fear, and grief. Adams' statement may mean, at last, an end to the nightmare.

Fin Keegan, Las Vegas, United States

Who are Sinn Fein trying to kid? When the IRA said they would murder people to try
and justify ends, then they really lost all the respect of the common person. If Sinn Fein
want to help themselves, then they must clarify their position with respect to the IRA.
Either back the IRA and try and reform or disassociate yourselves from the IRA. Publicly
state you have nothing to do with them.

Max, UK

Given the IRA's track record of violence against anyone who stands in their way, I'd say
there is no chance that they will ever lay down their weapons and go about their
business in a peaceful way. Even their sponsors in the USA are beginning to see that.

Peter, Helensburgh, UK

This could be great news if it actually happens.

Colin, Kent, UK

Adams knows Sinn Fein has lost all credibility - this is just a cynical attempt to regain it

Roger Snape, Southampton

It's nothing more than a desperate attempt to be accepted in mainstream politics
following the recent criminal activity of the IRA. Adams knows Sinn Fein has lost all
credibility - this is just a cynical attempt to regain it. Would he have made this call if the
recent activity had not been so embarrassing for his cause? Somehow, I doubt it.

Roger Snape, Southampton

Leopards never change their spots. In the same way the staunch IRA members are
committed to an arms struggle and no amount of cajoling by Gerry Adams is going to
change their evil ways. Adams may have reformed himself and realized that the only
way forward is by embracing democratic means. Hopefully this will strike a resonant
chord. However the signs do not seem to be promising at all. Surely nobody in their
right minds would want to go back to the days of bombings, bloodshed and violence!

Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

Does this mean that Sinn Fein is now saying that the IRA is not an acceptable policing
force for republican communities? Where is the call to disarm and disband? Where is
the call to support the Police Service as the proper force against crime? Much as I
dislike the DUP scepticism, I must agree that words are not enough. This is Sinn Fein
doing what they do best: spin and PR, not real commitment to peace.

Richard, Coleraine, N.Ireland

Active terrorism is a result of a certain area of society not being listened to; I am sure
that Sinn Fein is serious about peace, and that any connections they have with the IRA
are being used to encourage the end of terrorism forever in NI. It is interesting that
during the peace process and Good Friday Agreements, the level of violence has fallen.

Steve, Suffolk, UK

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/04/06 21:56:06 GMT


Charge People, Says IAUC

The Irish American Unity Conference wants to see justice done in the case of the
murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

But the lobby group doesn't want the investigation to stand in the way of a return to
devolved government.

"We want to see arrests and we want to see people going to court. But you don't deny
people a government because of the committing of a crime," said IAUC national
president Andy Somers.

The McCartney case had become "a British smokescreen," Somers, a retired judge,
said. "This is another issue that the British have the Irish fighting over."


McCartneys Meet MEPS And Barroso In Brussels

Denis Staunton in Brussels

Robert McCartney's sisters have taken their campaign for justice to Europe with
meetings in Brussels yesterday with MEPs and the president of the European
Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. The family said they needed to raise €250,000 to
fund a civil action against the people they believe were responsible for their brother's
murder 10 weeks ago.

"Time is of the essence. We need to get it off the ground very quickly," Paula
McCartney said.

Mr Barroso expressed his admiration for the sisters' campaign but said the commission
could not interfere with the judicial system of any EU member state.

"I want to reiterate the commission's vehement condemnation of your brother's killing,"
he said.

"It is not for the commission to interfere with the judicial inquiries and legal procedures
of a member state, but the courage, dignity and quest for truth and for justice which the
McCartney family embodies deserves to succeed."

Only three sisters - Catherine, Gemma and Paula - travelled to Brussels, citing financial
constraints as the reason they were not joined by Claire and Donna and Mr McCartney's
partner, Bridgeen Hagans. They met the main political groups in the European
Parliament, including the Group of the United European Left, which includes Sinn Féin
MEPs Mary Lou McDonald and Bairbre de Brún.

Catherine McCartney told Socialist MEPs that they were no closer to seeing their
brother's murderers brought to justice than they were on the day he died.

"Weeks have now gone by and we are coming up against blank wall after blank wall,"
she said. "This is a question of justice and human rights. We believe that justice and
peace can coexist. For justice to exist, however, it is necessary for peace to be
sustainable. Sinn Féin has a clear responsibility in this matter."

The president of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, said violence must be fought
in all countries and promised the sisters the support of MEPs. "The doors of the
European Parliament will always be open to those who need a public tribune to fight any
kind of injustice," he said, "and I will discuss tomorrow with the group chairmen what we
- as an institution representing all European citizens - can do to help to break the wall of
silence surrounding Robert's murder."

Describing the sisters as "ordinary women doing extraordinary things", Fianna Fáil MEP
Brian Crowley promised to work with other groups in the parliament to draft a resolution
of support similar to that which was passed by the US Congress last month.

Fine Gael MEP Avril Doyle said the sisters had achieved more in the last two months to
bring IRA criminality to the fore than "the establishment North and South of the Border"
had managed to achieve in the last decade.

© The Irish Times


£9,000 May Relate To Bank Raid

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

Gardaí investigating a suspected Provisional IRA money laundering operation have
now recovered close to £3 million. That figure includes £9,000 recovered last week,
which they suspect may have come from the Northern Bank raid in December.

According to an informed Garda source, the latest money was recovered when
detectives revisited a man in the midlands from whom they had already recovered some
money. He handed over £9,000.

Gardaí believe the money had passed through a number of intermediaries before it was
handed to him for safekeeping. The notes are being examined forensically to establish if
they came from the Northern Bank raid.

The latest cash brings to £2,981,500 the amount recovered by gardaí. Detectives have
also recovered €130,000 in the same operation.

The investigation has involved gardaí from Donegal to Cork who have searched 60
premises under warrant. About 12 people have voluntarily handed back sums ranging
from £20 to £250,000.

To date, nine people - seven men and two women - have been arrested. Eight have
been released without charge and one man has been charged with membership of an
illegal organisation.

A source said it would likely be months rather than weeks before a file on the
investigation was ready for the DPP.

© The Irish Times


Two Questioned Over 1974 Murder

Dan Keenan

Police in Co Antrim are continuing to question two men arrested on Tuesday in
connection with the murder of a nationalist councillor in Co Tyrone more than 30 years

Patrick Kelly, a member of Omagh District Council, was shot by loyalists after he closed
a pub on July 24th, 1974. Shirt buttons, bloodstains and bullet cases were found on the
Badoney road near Trillick, Co Tyrone, where it is thought the UFF murdered him. Mr
Kelly's body was discovered nearly a month later floating in a Fermanagh lake.

Four men were arrested on Tuesday, but two were released unconditionally last night.

The case was reopened in 2003 and headed by Andrew Hunter from the West Midlands
force, who is on secondment to the PSNI. The murder is surrounded by claims of
security force collusion with the UFF, a cover name for the UDA.

The Kelly family continues to press for an independent inquiry into the murder.

© The Irish Times

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Apr 2005
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