1 May 2003 Edition
Governments fail Peace Process
Republicans have answered enough questions
As republicans prepare to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike this weekend, we remain locked in the same struggle for freedom and justice.
Last Sunday, Gerry Adams made a keynote speech in which he addressed in a direct and fortright manner the concerns about the IRA statement that had been expressed by the two governments. In that speech, he said that the IRA statement, unmatched by any from the IRA leadership in this or indeed any other phase of their struggle, points the way forward.
He said that the two governments and the leadership of the UUP now had to make a choice. He reiterated that the Joint Declaration and all other statements should be published, that the commitments contained in all the statements, including the IRA statement, should be implemented in full, and that the Assembly Elections should proceed as planned.
While welcoming the speech, Tony Blair came back on one question. On Wednesday afternoon in Sevastopol Street, Gerry Adams again stretched the republican constituency to address that outstanding point.
He did so, he said, despite that he and other Sinn Féin leaders had received an unprecedented number of calls from republicans and nationalists expressing real anger about what was going on.
"They are saying 'go no further, no more. There has to be a limit'," said Adams, who added that this was a sincere response from people who were deeply upset. "There is an anger and resentment among republicans about the insatiable demands of the unionists, which have been supported by two governments that should know better," he said.
"This is not about the IRA," he added. "It is about the securocrats within the British establishment who can't cope with the change represented by the Good Friday Agreement.
"We want equality for everyone," he stressed. "After a lot of reflection, I have decided to make further remarks that will stretch our people even more. It is an attempt to frustrate those who are trying to derail the process."
The Sinn Féin leader appealed to people to take ownership of this process of change to claim their entitlements and rights.
Gerry Adams's statement was predictably rejected by David Trimble, but the two governments also chose to respond negatively, indicating that even this, the final step they themselves had asked for, was not enough. The two governments know exactly what is on the table. Their requests for clarification have been answered three times by republicans since the IRA statement was given to them two weeks ago. And now, as Gerry Adams has seized the initiative and addressed the governments' concerns to try to break the logjam, Blair and Ahern are looking to move the goalposts again.
They must now take responsibility for the continuation of the crisis in the peace process. Bertie Ahern's falling in behind unionist demands this week has been particularly outrageous and will cause huge anger among nationalists across the island.
No wonder republican spokespersons reacted so furiously on Wednesday evening.
"We have made a fair and honourable attempt," said Mitchel McLaughlin. "The paper chase is over. We've answered enough questions."
Gerry Adams's critical Peace Process Statement
"Last Sunday, I made a lengthy statement about the future of the peace process which has been widely welcomed. In the course of my statement I answered three questions raised by the British Prime Minister.
"It is my belief that all three questions were answered fully. However, the Taoiseach, the British Prime Minister and others have queried my answer about alleged IRA activities.
"I want now in the interests of moving matters forward to eliminate any doubt which might exist in that regard.
"The IRA leadership makes it clear in its statement that it is determined that its activities will be consistent with its resolve to see the complete and final closure of the conflict.
"The IRA leadership is determined that there will be no activities which will undermine in any way the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
"The IRA statement is a statement of completely peaceful intent. Both governments have already acknowledged this.
"The Joint Declaration and all other statements should now be published. The commitments contained in all statements should be implemented."
Adams - we are at a defining moment in the process
Governments and UUP now have a choice to make
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams last Sunday gave the following keynote address to senior Sinn Féin activists at Parliament Buildings. In his speech, Adams answered the questions put by Tony Blair and said that the IRA statement, unmatched by any from the IRA leadership in this or indeed any other phase of their struggle, points the way forward.
He said that the two governments and the leadership of the UUP now have to make a choice. He reiterated that the Joint Declaration and all other statements should be published, that the commitments contained in all the statements, including the IRA statement, should be implemented in full, and that the Assembly Elections should proceed as planned.
Sinn Féin's focus in the last five years has been to see the Good Friday Agreement fully and faithfully implemented.
The Agreement was born out of decades of division and conflict, and almost 30 years of war. It reflects a deep desire on the part of the vast majority of people on this island to build a just and lasting peace for everyone.
The substance of the Good Friday Agreement is about the rights and entitlements of citizens. It is about a new political dispensation on the island of Ireland and a new relationship between Ireland and Britain.
It is about change - fundamental and deep-rooted change - including constitutional and institutional change - across all aspects of society.
Five years after the Agreement, there has been progress. The institutions, when they functioned, did so effectively and were very popular.
While for some people, including bereaved families and victims of sectarianism, the situation is worse the reality is that for most people things are much better today than they have ever been.
We have all come a long way in recent years. A problem, which was previously described as intractable, has proven not to be so.
I believe that the IRA statement, unmatched by any from the IRA leadership in this or indeed any other phase of their struggle, points the way forward. Now the two governments and the leadership of the UUP have to make a choice
But we still have a lot more to do.
Important aspects of the Agreement have not been delivered on, as Prime Minister Blair freely acknowledged last October.
The purpose of the Joint Declaration and of the negotiations which Sinn Féin and the two governments were locked in for months, was to ensure that those rights and entitlements not yet in place become a reality in the time ahead.
While committed to our republican objectives it is Sinn Féin's view that the Good Friday Agreement, despite the difficulties, continues to hold the promise of a new beginning for everyone.
I believe we have now reached a defining moment in that endeavour.
The Joint Declaration commits to progress across a range of issues and indeed significant progress in some areas; albeit on a conditional basis. It also contains other difficulties, some of which are wholly unacceptable to Sinn Féin. We have made this clear to the two governments.
The two governments, for example, intend to introduce sanctions aimed at Sinn Féin and the Sinn Féin electorate, which are outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. These sanctions would contravene the safeguards built into the Agreement and are unacceptable.
Let us be clear about the Joint Declaration. The commitments given by the two governments, and especially the British government, in the Good Friday Agreement and the Joint Declaration, if and when acted upon would see the commencement of a process. This could see the implementation in full of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Joint Declaration is not an act of completion. It is, at best, a commitment to a process towards completion.
Nor is there any certainty about the UUP's position or its intentions in respect of the stability of the political institutions, a timeframe for the transfer of powers on policing and criminal justice, or the establishment of the north/south inter-parliamentary forum and so forth.
There is no certainty from the unionist paramilitaries.
There is no certainty about the positions or the intentions of British securocrats.
But despite these very real and serious difficulties, it is Sinn Féin's view that on balance the Joint Declaration presents an important opportunity to move the process forward.
Consequently, the IRA leadership was persuaded to take yet another initiative to support and give space and momentum to the peace process. A draft text and other concepts were passed to the two governments and the Ulster Unionist Party. There followed a period of sustained leaking and misleading briefings to the media about this.
Then on 12 April, the two governments, in a public statement, said that it is important that all parties and groups join the governments in upholding and implementing the Good Friday Agreement in full. They also said that 'fulfilling the promise and potential of the Good Friday Agreement is a collective responsibility'.
So there was agreement that the basis for definitively ending conflict - conflict resolution - is a collective one.
On Sunday 13 April, Martin McGuinness and I gave the two governments the final copy of the IRA statement.
This detailed statement setting out the IRA leadership's view of the current phase of the peace process was accomplished in the most difficult circumstances. It contains a number of highly significant and positive elements unparalleled in any previous statement by the IRA leadership, either in this or in any previous phase of their struggle.
A copy was also shown to the Ulster Unionist Party leadership.
The two governments have publicly recognised the many positive aspects of the IRA statement, the obvious progress and, crucially, the British and Irish governments said that the statement shows a clear desire to make the peace process work.
Such an IRA statement and such a response to it would have been unimaginable ten or even five years ago.
The IRA statement sets out the status of the IRA cessation, its future intentions and its attitude to the issue of arms. It also makes clear the IRA's resolve to a complete and final closure of the conflict, and its support for efforts to make conflict a thing of the past. This is unequivocal.
On 23 April the British Prime Minister publicly raised three questions about the IRA statement.
Mr Blair asked first, whether activities inconsistent with the Good Friday Agreement, such as targeting, procurement of weapons, punishment beatings and so forth, were at an end; second, whether the IRA's commitment was to put all arms beyond use; and thirdly, whether the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and commitments in the Joint Declaration would bring complete and final closure of the conflict.
I have stated in the course of the extensive private contacts that have taken place with the governments my belief that the IRA statement is clear on the issues raised, but for the public record, my answers are as follows.
Firstly, the IRA leadership has stated its determination to ensure that its activities will be consistent with its resolve to see the complete and final closure of the conflict.
I have already acknowledged in my address to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, and at other times, the difficulties caused for the pro-Agreement unionists and others by allegations of IRA activities in the recent past.
In particular, these have been cited as an excuse for the suspension of the political institutions and the current impasse in the Good Friday Agreement process.
Sinn Féin is, with others, an architect of the Good Friday Agreement. Martin McGuinness and I have raised allegations of IRA activity with the IRA leadership.
Mr Blair has also raised these issues in one of his questions.
In my view, the IRA statement deals definitively with these concerns about alleged IRA activity. And any such activities which in any way undermine the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement should not be happening.
The IRA statement is a statement of completely peaceful intent. Its logic is that there should be no activities inconsistent with this.
Secondly, the IRA has clearly stated its willingness to proceed with the implementation of a process to put arms beyond use at the earliest opportunity. Obviously this is not about putting some arms beyond use. It is about all arms.
And thirdly, if the two governments and all the parties fulfil their commitments this will provide the basis for the complete and final closure of the conflict.
Sinn Féin's peace strategy has always been about bringing an end to physical force republicanism by creating an alternative way to achieve democratic and republican objectives. We have negotiated, and campaigned and argued to have the Good Friday Agreement implemented not only because that is our obligation, not only because it is the right thing, but also because it fits into a strategy of creating an alternative to war and a means of sustaining and anchoring the peace process.
The IRA statement contains another key element. Some time ago the Ulster Unionist Party leader publicly stated that he would not call a UUC meeting to discuss his party going back into the institutions until after the IRA had acted on the arms issue. For its part the IRA had set its engagement with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning in the context of functioning political institutions.
There was also deep scepticism within the republican constituency because there was no indication that the UUP would reciprocate even if the IRA moved on the arms issue.
This stand off had to be broken.
So, despite the suspension of the institutions the IRA leadership authorised a third act of putting arms beyond use to be verified under the agreed scheme by the IICD. This act was timed to facilitate the Ulster Unionist Party holding a UUC meeting. This followed a suggestion by me that I would point up this difficulty in a public statement. Mr Trimble was to respond to this with a public commitment that he would recommend to his party that they actively support the sustained working of the political institutions and other elements of the Good Friday Agreement.
The IRA leadership was then prepared to act in advance of the UUC meeting and in the context of suspended institutions.
My understanding is that all of this is still doable at this time if there is a positive response from the two governments and Mr Trimble.
Let me tell you that the Sinn Féin leadership have put in a huge amount of effort to save this process. But there is a limit to what we can do.
There is considerable unease within the republican activist base and the wider republican constituency over recent developments. The Sinn Féin leadership, while mindful of this, has not been deterred because our commitment is to making this process work. We are also conscious that other constituencies have their problems.
The IRA leadership has once again demonstrated in an unprecedented way its clear willingness to support the peace process.
I, along with the vast majority of people in Ireland, value the IRA cessation. It is the main anchor for the peace process. But let me be clear, the political process is the responsibility of political leaders. We created the Good Friday Agreement. It is our job, whatever about the approaches or actions of others, to make politics work, to make conflict resolution work.
This is a collective responsibility. We all have a choice to make. The Sinn Fein leadership's position is clear.
I believe that the IRA statement, unmatched by any from the IRA leadership in this or indeed any other phase of their struggle, points the way forward.
Now the two governments and the leadership of the UUP have to make a choice.
So what has to be done? There is no magic formula waiting to be discovered. The next steps in this process are not secret. Everyone knows what is required.
The Joint Declaration and all other statements should be published. It is as simple as that. The commitments contained in all the statements, including the IRA statement, should be implemented in full.
The Assembly Elections should proceed as planned.
Republicans have stretched ourselves repeatedly to keep the peace process on track. Sinn Féin is in this process to the end.
Nationalists and unionists, republicans and loyalists have to come to terms with and recognise each other's integrity. We need to forge a real partnership that manages the changes that are taking place and builds a better future, a democratic and inclusive future.
Our collective task, in fact our collective obligation, is to make that change peaceful and constructive for all.
We have to work together to move this process forward.
That is the challenge for all of us, for Sinn Fein for the two governments and, critically, for the leadership of the UUP.
That is the way to achieve a permanent peace.
US Congressional Reps: Elections must be held as scheduled
A group of US Congressional Representatives, representing the Friends of Ireland and the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs, have put their names to a public statement calling on the British government and the Ulster Unionists to engage with Gerry Adams on the basis of his statement last Sunday and for the elections to go ahead as planned on 29 May. The statement reads as follows:
"At this critical time in the peace process, we strongly believe that the Assembly elections in Northern Ireland must be held as scheduled on 29 May.
"These elections would continue the momentum established by the Good Friday Agreement, and would advance the democratic process while enhancing the opportunity to bring about the resolution of issues in dispute at that time.
"We also commend Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin for his 27 April statement. This statement is a significant step toward clarifying legitimate remaining questions. We call upon the British government and especially the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party to engage with Mr Adams on the basis of his statement at the earliest date.
"As members of the US House of Representatives, we oppose any efforts to hinder the democratic process. We believe that any delay in the elections would do great harm to the progress that has been made thus far."
The letter was signed by Congressman James T Walsh, Chair Friends of Ireland (Republican -New York); Congressman Richard Neal, Co-chair Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs (Democrat - Massachussetts); Congressman Peter King, Co-chair Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs (Republican - New York); Congressman Joe Crowley, Co-chair Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs (Democrat - New York); Congressman John Sweeney, Co-chair Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs (Republican - New York); Congressman Frank Pallone (Democrat - New Jersey); Congressman Donald Payne (Democrat - New Jersey); Congressman Chris Smith (Republican - New Jersey); Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (Democrat - New York); and Congressman Tim Holden (Democrat - Pennsylvania).
Agreement discussed in London
A Connolly Association-organised conference on the fifth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement was held in London on Thursday 24 June.
The main focus of the meeting centred on the British government's failure to deliver on the commitments it signed up to in the Agreement. Speakers at the meeting included former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and Sinn Féin's Dodie McGuinness.
The Connolly Association said that five years on from the signing of the Agreement, the British government has permitted the Ulster Unionist party to determine the extent and pace of change in the North of Ireland while it itself has failed to demilitarise its security bases throughout the Six Counties.
"The British government has not created a police service acceptable to both communities nor a justice system that is accountable and representative, and has failed to end discrimination against nationalists in employment," it said.
"If this is allowed to continue, the Good Friday Agreement will be completely discredited, with dire consequences for the peace process."
New heartlands of struggle
BY JIM GIBNEY
In years to come I wouldn't be surprised to see a question similar to the following one on a third level history paper: 'In terms of the Irish peace process, assess the significance and location of the speech made by the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams on Sunday 27 April 2003.'
For those prospective students who might face such a question or indeed for others who are currently pondering the significance of what Gerry Adams said, I offer up the following observations.
The first thing the student/observer might reflect on is the fact that for the first time in almost ten years, perhaps ever, Gerry Adams has interpreted a private statement from the leadership of the IRA, which is not in the public domain and which might never be in that domain, and has put his personal views of this out to the public.
Why is this so important? Firstly it is a major departure for Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin, to consider and then to do this. He, more than any other republican leader, has resisted interpreting what the IRA has said and has encouraged colleagues to do the same.
IRA statements derive from a specific historical and cultural context. They are crafted and approved by people who inhabit a world and a tradition that operates and functions within a military ethos.
And while the people who script such statements live as the rest of us live in this struggle and are subject to the same political circumstances, they carry a responsibility that is not carried by members or leaders of Sinn Féin.
At times Gerry Adams's attitude has caused much debate and certainly criticism from journalists who are always looking for a steer this way or that on IRA positions from any one of a dozen Sinn Féin spokespersons.
But for Gerry Adams, it is not the responsibility of Sinn Féin to put a gloss on an IRA position. That is a matter for the IRA.
Political opponents of republicanism have a project of constantly linking the IRA and Sinn Féin together as if they were inseparable as if they were precisely, one and the same organisation, from the ground upwards.
This linkage is designed to create problems for the Sinn Féin leadership in developing the party especially in the 26 Counties, where acceptance and understanding of why the IRA exists and had to do what it did, among the people, would not be as acute as in the Six Counties.
The fact that Gerry Adams was moved to break with a personal convention of long standing indicates the gravity of the crisis in the peace process and the attempts by the party leadership to overcome that crisis.
In interpreting the IRA's position, he is bringing his considerable political authority to bear on the issue to hand.
This is of crucial importance to all involved: Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern and David Trimble.
The reality is that in the absence of the IRA's view on their statement, a view from Gerry Adams about the IRA will satisfy the vast majority of people who want to see the peace process succeed.
Although Gerry Adams was not speaking for the IRA last Sunday, his interpretation of what was in the IRA's statement and his view of the intention behind the words should be enough for those who want to break this logjam to do so.
What is also of critical importance is what was said by Gerry Adams in his speech.
I do not intend to interpret Gerry Adams's interpretation. We are still too close to the event itself to fully work out the logic of the speech or appreciate its value in its entirety.
The central element to the speech is clearly Gerry Adams's interpretation of what the IRA said and specifically his answers to the three questions posed by Tony Blair.
But what is also of crucial importance is the context within which these answers are offered up.
This is summed up in the sentence: "The IRA statement is a statement of [completely] peaceful intent", my italics. He went on to say that, "any activities which in any way undermine the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement should not be happening".
He followed this up with the view that the IRA's commitment to putting arms beyond use at the earliest opportunity "is not about putting some arms beyond use. It is about [all] arms". Again, my italics.
He concluded that the "complete and final closure of the conflict" [will], my italics, come about "if the two governments and all the parties fulfil their commitments."
It is inconceivable that any republican leader would have countenanced the content of last week's speech a short while ago.
It is even more remarkable that such a speech would be offered up against the background of a unionist agenda being adopted by Blair, Ahern and Mark Durkan, leader of the SDLP.
But one of the primary lessons of the many that have come out of the peace process is that republicans taking initiatives have led to a strengthening of the peace process and increased republican strength across Ireland, thereby advancing towards freedom and independence.
Equally remarkable, indeed some might say, stunning, was the revelation in the speech that the IRA offered to "authorise a third act of putting arms beyond use to be verified under the agreed scheme by the IICD".
At times, making peace involves helping one's opponents. This offer from the IRA was about helping David Trimble deal with the wreckers in his party who are opposed to the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
This was a very practical example of the peace process working, a gesture of extremely good faith.
The fact that the British and Irish governments are still quibbling over words and that David Trimble rejected the IRA's offer tells you more about their inability to meet the challenges of an unfolding peace process.
The primary challenge they face has to do with the growth of Sinn Féin as a party across the island and the potential for further and far reaching change contained in the Good Friday Agreement.
The secondary challenge they face is to let the democratic process take us all unhindered to the next destination, irrespective of its outcome.
The test for the peace process and those involved in it is the ability to positively shape events as they unfold.
This requires leadership and it requires taking risks. The easy thing is to be led by your own people. The more difficult thing to do is to lead from the front.
Gerry Adams could have made the speech in one of many republican venues in the heartland of the freedom struggle. Given its content, that would have been the safe option.
Instead, he chose to make it in the heartland of the northern administration; the seat of one of the new arenas of struggle, a powerful message in itself.
Republicans know where they are going, no matter how difficult the path. Given recent developments, they might have to drag everyone else along that path with them.
Republicans will not be defeated
BY LAURA FRIEL
This week, despite the current uncertainty, republican activists focused on their election campaign work and this weekend republicans will be travelling to Belfast to commemorate the 1981 Hunger Strike, acknowledging the legacy of the past while working for a shared vision of the future
On the eve of his execution, American radical and trade unionist Joe Hill famously told his comrades, "don't mourn, organise", and although we are far from witnessing the demise of the Good Friday Agreement, the message from the republican leadership this week appeared to echo something of the same sentiment.
Election uncertainty, the continuing failure of the British and Irish governments to publish their joint document, and in the face of continuing unionist intransigence, the apparent precarious future of the Stormont Assembly, were being met by determined calls for mobilisation and organisation.
Republicans throughout the Six Counties were being urged to do what they do best, the dogged, determined and focused grass roots political work that has also been an important arena of struggle for republicans.
This week, despite the current uncertainty, republican activists focused on their election campaign work and this weekend republicans throughout the island of Ireland will be travelling to Belfast to commemorate the 1981 Hunger Strike, acknowledging the legacy of the past while working for a shared vision of the future.
Taking time out of a busy schedule, Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin spoke to An Phoblacht about why republicans place so much importance on attending the national Hunger Strike commemoration in Belfast.
"Sinn Féin is mobilising people, at a national level, to remember why they died and to reflect how far republicans have come in resolving conflict and in transforming the political landscape here in Ireland," said McLaughlin.
"Twenty-two years ago, the British government refused to accept the five demands of republican prisoners. They refused to acknowledge the profound political nature of the conflict in Ireland or indeed their responsibility for creating and maintaining that conflict. In 1981, ten people died on hunger strike.
"They forced the British government to acknowledge the political nature of the conflict. They forced the British government to recognise the legitimate political aspirations of republicans. The courage, vision and determination of republicans today, as it was 22 years ago, has been the driving force for change on this island.
"We're currently at a very important moment in terms of the history of republicanism and remembering the Hunger Strike puts a clear focus on the progress that has been made. There are many important strands in current republican thinking and tactics which sprang directly from the Hunger Strike period.
"The electoral intervention of Bobby Sands and subsequent elections of hunger strikers and their supporters showed Republicans that there was a whole new arena of struggle that could be explored. Out of that developed an electoral strategy.
"The way in which those early community based structures that emerged during the Hunger Strike came together provided the basis for a mass movement, a movement that actually reflected a broad spectrum of political opinion and was the first example of an emerging nationalist consensus. The nationalist consensus has become a key strand in the current peace process.
"The Hunger Strike period showed republicans the advantages of engaging in broad front politics. During this period a wide range of people, from all kinds of political backgrounds, were not only prepared to engage in a process with republicans but to accept republican leadership. This also marked an important milestone.
"This week, republicans are approaching the 22nd commemoration of the Hunger Strike against the backdrop of speculation and uncertainty about the forthcoming elections. To date, the British government has changed the electoral rules eleven times in successive attempts to prevent Sinn Féin's electoral advances.
"But despite all their best efforts, it hasn't stopped Sinn Féin's electoral surge forward. The British government is afraid of this election's outcome. They are so afraid that they are now threatening to abandon the election altogether. In a week in which people in England, Scotland and Wales are going to the polls, we in the north of Ireland are witnessing the true attachment of the British government to the democratic process," said McLaughlin.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams at an election rally on the Falls Road described the forthcoming election campaign as "the most important" election to date. Despite the current uncertainty, he said, party workers should assume the election scheduled for 29 May will go ahead. "Nothing should daunt us. Nothing should prevent us from moving forward," said Adams.
"Thirty years is a long time, it's a long time in anyone's life but it isn't a long time in struggle, it isn't a long time in history. Consider Sinn Féin in this city 30 years ago; in 1964 Sinn Féin was a banned organisation, today we're the largest party and Alex Maskey is coming to the end of his term of office as mayor, a groundbreaking successful term as the first republican mayor in the history of this city.
"Most republicans and nationalists are really cheesed off with David Trimble. They tell me that they can't put up with David Trimble. And I ask myself, put up with David Trimble? It's me who is putting up with David Trimble and the rest of our team. And if we can put up with him, it is reasonable to expect other republicans to do so as well.
"And this is important, because unionists have nowhere to go unless we make them welcome on this island. They'll twist and turn, they'll be bombastic and arrogant and use offensive language, but that's understandable. It's understandable because change, the type of change we want and the change envisaged by the GFA, threatens the very rationale of unionism.
"We should be understanding, not acquiescent, because we are Irish republicans. We want a Republic, a new Republic, a national Republic on this island, but the most important part of this word is "public", which means people. That's what a Republic is about. It's about people, people in charge, people in power, people being uplifted, people being sovereign and that includes unionists," said Adams.
"As for the British, they are currently upholding the Union. What else should we expect? What colonial power ever voluntarily gave up possession of its conquests? It has never happened in the history of humanity. Even a benign government will resist, even if there are people within that government who know in their heart of hearts that they should not be on this island.
"And we should not be surprised by the British system of securocrats, MI5 and their network of spies. Their war is not over. They may present the IRA as the target but in truth their war is about defeating people like you, it's about defeating people. But over many, many years, there is one thing I have learnt about republican activists. And that is this, they cannot be defeated, they will not be defeated," said Adams.