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October 19, 2006

SF Will Take Pledge: Adams

News About Ireland & The Irish

II 10/16/06 Sinn Fein Will Take Pledge: Adams


Sinn Fein Will Take Pledge: Adams

SINN Fein ministers will take a pledge of office to be in
the Northern Executive, party leader Gerry Adams revealed

But it could not be "a sackcloth and ashes" pledge.

The Sinn Fein president was speaking after a three-hour
meeting of the party's 56-member Ard Comhairle in Dublin
which made no decision on holding a special Ard Fheis on

He said there were still difficulties and issues arising
from the St Andrew's Agreement but believed these were "not
insurmountable". Mr Adams said he did not believe Ian
Paisley and the DUP had any "side letter" from British
Prime Minister Tony Blair on the controversial pledge of
office and whether it had to be taken by the November 24

Yesterday's meeting decided to carry out a consultative
process at all levels of the party, from leadership to
grassroots, on the St Andrew's Agreement published by the
Irish and British governments in Scotland last week.

MEP Mary Lou McDonald said: "This consultation will start
immediately. And we will have a full and a genuine debate
with our people."

"We are also looking to have a broader aspect to this
consultation so that we will reach into the wider community
and talk to all concerned persons," she said.

Asked if Sinn Fein would be holding a special Ard Fheis on
policing, Mr Adams said: "I am not in a position at this
point to put a proposal to the Ard Comhairle in relation to
the Ard Fheis. There is obviously ongoing work, so the
question doesn't arise at this point."

He said the timeframe for the consultative process would be
"relatively short".

Asked if the timeframe would mean a decision by November
10, when the two governments have asked all the parties for
an answer, Mr Adams said: "I would imagine so, yes."


Mr Adams said: "There are challenges for the governments,
for the DUP and for Sinn Fein and republicans. But none of
them are insurmountable because the prize is too big to
allow anything to stop us."

Mr Adams said the only issue they would have to deal with
at a special Ard Fheis was whether the party would change
its position on the PSNI.

"It is because we are for those (law and order) in the
context of the North that we have not yet embraced what has
been put forward because we have very, very high standards
in that regard.

"If you want to ask the experts on this island about bad
policing, go and talk to the people who have been through
the interrogation centres, who have been through the
barracks, who have been on the receiving end of the plastic
bullets, who have been victims of collusion.

"Our people know about all these issues," Mr Adams added.

Gene McKenna

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