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25 September 2003 Edition

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Be ready for election, Adams urges party

Party President Gerry Adams has told Sinn Féin to be ready for an election.

Speaking to party activists from across the country, Adams warned that in the North an Assembly election could be called at any time and that activists must be ready for that challenge "when it comes".

The Sinn Féin leader was addressing party activists who had gathered at Stormont on Wednesday 23 September for a seminar to debate Sinn Féin's all-Ireland agenda.

And while most commentators throughout Ireland will see Adams' remarks as being specifically aimed at the Northern electorate, he was in reality urging the party throughout Ireland to be ready also for next year's European election and the local government elections in the 26 Counties.

Adams cautioned, however that we need to be "reasonable and rational about what is do-able in the immediate term, particularly when others have failed to live up to their responsibilities".

The Sinn Féin President was anxious to curb speculation that there would be an immediate breakthrough in the ongoing talks the Sinn Féin leadership is having with both the Dublin and British governments and his ongoing contacts with Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble.

Later that evening, Adams addressed a gathering of party activists in the Long Hall at Stormont, the majority of whom will play a central role in Sinn Féin's election campaign.

He told his audience of already selected candidates and election workers that the Sinn Féin leadership "has argued that an election and the right of the people to vote is a matter of political principle and that Mr Blair should not have cancelled the elections when he did".

Dismissing the speculation that a move on the part of the IRA would pave the way for a successful outcome to talks and see an election, Adams said: " With this business about the IRA doing certain things, all of us have been through all of that last spring.

"So I think the two governments, as they seek to work all of this out with us and with other parties, need to have some sense of what is do-able, of what is possible, of what is realisable.

"It isn't just down to the IRA and just down to republicans. This party is totally wedded, not just to making this Agreement work but to making the entire peace process work and to bring about an entirely new dispensation on this island.

"But to get other people to do things or to say things, as we have seen in the spring of this year, is sometimes very, very difficult, particularly or especially when those people have not fulfilled their obligations."


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