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3 August 2006 Edition

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"IRA decision has continuing impact" - Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said that the DUP has been forced to concede the principle of power-sharing and the question now is when will they decide to engage. He placed the current poltical situation in the context of the first anniversary of the IRA's historic decision to end its armed campaign, a decision still impacting on the political landscape.

"Last year when the IRA made their announcement, I said that despite the historic nature of their decision to formally end their armed campaign, such moves would not be rewarded by those opposed to change", stated Adams in a weekend TV interview. "That has proved to be the case. Just as the former unionist leader James Molyneaux described the 1994 IRA cessation as the most destabilizing event in unionist history, today some unionists are desperately trying to find excuses not to engage.

"That puts a huge responsibility on the rest of us to be focused on how we move forward. And Sinn Féin will give it our best effort in the coming months. Our focus is to try and get the power sharing institutions back up and running with Ian Paisley in his rightful place as First Minister. If that doesn't work the process of change will continue. The DUP have no veto other than their right to decide not to participate. If he doesn't want that job there are other people to drive the process forward.

"If the DUP don't come on board by November 24, if the DUP decide that they want to hang about until 2010, they have to realize that Ireland will be a very changed place by then. The process of change will have continued without them.

"A lot of this is the DUP going through the motions because they have a bit of time. The reality is that in all of these issues the DUP have conceded the principle -- in terms of sharing power, the Good Friday Agreement and dialogue with Sinn Féin.

"So it's actually just a matter of, can they through this tactical approach they are taking, garner some sort of support from the governments for their position and can they put off the awful day, as they would see it, as long as possible? But the fact is they can't have it on their own terms -- the terms are the Good Friday Agreement and they can't put off the inevitable because the process of change will continue with or without them.

"I believe that the IRA decision last year has had a very big impact within wider unionism and I think that at some point in the future sensible unionism will assert itself and engage.

"But my concern is not what the DUP will or won't do My concern is with the two governments and how they respond. My concern is about the way Peter Hain has pandered to the DUP and how the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs have played into that. We have been meeting with the governments weekly and we are clear about what we expect from them."

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