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8 February 2001 Edition

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Ninth annual Joe McManus/Kevin Coen lecture

Adams slams faceless securocrats


     
Those faceless men and women who for 30 years have shaped the institutions and laws and security agencies to suit their needs and goals, have a stranglehold over the process, and over British policy within the process
Addressing the annual Joe McManus/Kevin Coen lecture in Sligo on Sunday last, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams attacked the destructive and negative role of the `securocrats' within the British system who have succeeded in undermining progress around the key issues of policing and demilitarisation. He said they are also frustrating efforts to get at the truth within the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

``The reality, after weeks of intense and detailed contact and discussion, is that the gap between what the British government is obliged to do and what it has done on these issues is as great as ever,'' he said.

``The British government has not moved to honour the commitments it first made on these issues in the Good Friday Agreement or at the conclusion of similar discussions last May.

``Why has this happened? The reason is obvious.

``Those within the British military, intelligence and permanent government, those faceless men and women who for 30 years have shaped the institutions and laws and security agencies to suit their needs and goals, have a stranglehold over the process, and over British policy within the process.

``Look at the issues that are at the heart of this crisis.

``Policing, demilitarisation, and decommissioning.

``It was the securocrats who introduced decommissioning as a way of blocking progress within the peace process. It is they who won't tolerate democratic accountability within policing or allow for the past actions of this force to be open to scrutiny.

``It is the securocrats who won't demilitarise. Who are refusing to implement an agreement that their government signed up to in the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.

``Look too at the growing level of criticism and cynicism by relatives and the people of Derry at the way in which the Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday is being subverted. Who is it who has succeeded in undermining confidence in Saville by destroying crucial evidence and British weapons used on that dreadful day 29 years ago; who is it who succeeded in demanding and getting anonymity for the British soldiers who killed people; who is it who now can't find thousands of British Army photographs of the period which would provide essential evidence? - the answer to all of these questions is the securocrats.

``The dead hand of the British system - of the securocrats - is to be found blocking progress across all of these issues.''

The Sinn Féin President concluded by calling on the British Prime Minister to face down the rejectionists within his own system: ``The British government signed up in the Good Friday Agreement to a new beginning to policing and to demilitarisation. It was the right thing to do. It is still the right thing to do. Mr. Blair should get on with the job and help us create the context in which further progress across the range of issues can be made.

``Currently that progress is not being made. The British government stance at present is still being dictated by the securocrats.

``Mr. Blair has to face up to the rejectionists within his own system. He has to face down the dissidents with his establishment. The primacy of politics has to become the ethos which governments the British government's management of this process. This is the only way that a sustainable new dispensation will be produced.

``Unless that change takes place there is little prospect of real progress being made and a serious risk of deepening crisis and a collapse of confidence in the Agreement.''
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