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13 January 2005 Edition

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Nationalists deeply disappointed at Ahern remarks

Chair Mitchel McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Chair Mitchel McLaughlin

Sinn Féin spokespersons reacted angrily to claims by the Taoiseach that the Sinn Féin leadership knew of plans to rob the Northern Bank in Belfast.

Party Chair Mitchel McLaughlin said Ahern's remarks were "a direct attack on the integrity of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness".

"Many nationalists and republicans will be deeply disappointed that the Taoiseach has chosen to believe the British and to jump onto the DUP bandwagon of blame," he said.

"That the Taoiseach should do this, after years of working closely with this party's leadership in the peace process, is a grave blow and will be an encouragement to all those, particularly in the DUP, who have consistently sought to attack and undermine the efforts for peace.

"The Sinn Féin commitment to the Peace Process, and our willingness to face up to the challenges it presents, have been the dynamic sustaining the process and moving it forward, often through very difficult times.

"Sinn Féin will not be deflected from this, but the task is made more difficult when the governments attack our leadership in this way."

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