Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Adams - republicans delivered on our commitments

26 October, 2003

Gerry Adams: We are continuing to engage with the unionists and with the two governments but until there is an acceptance that the IICD is the Commission which was established to deal with this arms issue, until that is endorsed and upheld and actively accepted then I think we are going to continue with these difficulties in the short term.

It is hard to calculate the damage done by the arrest of the process. I have David Trimble's statement. I have the statement of the two governments. Whatever is said, everyone in this process, everyone in the sequence of statements knew what was going to proceed. There has been huge damage done by the unionists stepping out of that.

We have tried in Sinn Féin, to be very measured in how we describe all of that. But have no doubt that if we don't get this together, we can prove in terms of the sequence and in terms of the range of commitments how all of this was put together.

We sat down with the unionists and the two governments to re-configure the sequence but the sequence remained essentially the same.

These commitments were worked out not just over weeks but over months. There was detailed work done. Do you not think that David Trimble had sight of the IRA statements? Would he have agreed to go with the sequence without seeing what the IRA was going to say?

Do you think he did not play some part in what I was going to say? Of course he did. We can look for reasons and excuses for what happened and I have not been given yet any credible explanation for what occurred. I have my own view of it but I don't what to say anything at this time

The effort now is to try and make this work in the very short time that we have

People are conscious of how far the Peace Process has progressed from ten years ago. They are amazed that lack of details over something that has already taken place are sufficient to put this process on hold - why can you not give these details, why not give a full description of what took place?

First of all, it is not over to me. There is a Commission and it was satisfied to put out a statement. It should be left at that. The integrity and the independence of the Commission (IICD) should be accepted

Secondly, how do we know it would be enough? Last Spring we were told one word was all that was needed. Every time that we move the process forward from the republican perspective, there is another extra little bit demanded. We are told that we can't go forward without that. That is why I make the point that it is impossible to quantify the damage, which has been done by the Unionists stepping outside of an agreed sequence, a series of agreed statements

The imperative has to be to get this right. If we get this right and it moves ahead, and there will be more difficulties up the road, but at least public confidence will come back and people will have some sense that we pulled it off. That is the intention of the Sinn Féin leadership. The fact that the Unionists are engaging with us at this time shows that there is some acceptance by them that they too have a responsibility to try and sort this out.

Is it not also true that in the past when problems have been sorted out, the process is stronger? There is a problem here, if the information is provided you will see if the Unionists are genuine about the peace process?

What happens within republicanism? We have a huge job of work to do to manage all of this. I heard some comments earlier on from a leading Unionist saying that this is a problem to do with backwoodsmen from the bog holes of South Armagh and that unionists are dragging republicans forward.

Anything republicans have done we have done by choice because we understand that there is a need to build confidence and to move this process forward. But confidence building is a two way street. There needs to be confidence among Republicans in the two governments. And it is not just the unionists who have not made their part clear.

The two governments also have not put forward their position yet and I presume that they will.

Unionists need to understand that republican confidence in the UUP has been shattered by this week's events. Let's try and rescue all of that in the short term.

One person's act of decommissioning is another person‚s act of humiliation. That is the reality.

Why is it humiliating?

If you and I, as enemies or opponents are trying to build confidence in each other, it means that you and I have to able to make agreements that are kept. We had an acceptance on Good Friday five and a half years ago that the arms issue would be dealt with by an Independent International Commission. That is where it should be dealt with.

Connect with Sinn Féin