Adams warns DUP against Sham Fights
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA was the main speaker today at a march and commemoration in Milltown Cemetery to mark the deaths of seven young people from the area who were killed during March 1988.
IRA Volunteers Maireád Farrell, Dan McCann and Sean Savage were killed in Gibraltar. IRA Volunteer Kevin McCracken was shot and killed by British troops in Turf Lodge and Thomas Mc Erlaine, John Murray and IRA Volunteer Caoimhín MacBrádaigh were killed in Milltown Cemetery when the Gibraltar funeral was attacked.
Welcoming the families Mr. Adams acknowledged that: "While we all remember with immense sadness the deaths of your loved ones, the personal sense of grief and loss for you, particularly at commemorations and events like those we have had in recent days, is enormously greater".
The Sinn Fein President said:
"I have no doubts that the killings in Gibraltar were sanctioned directly by Margaret Thatcher. They were part of a wider British state policy that incorporated shoot-to-kill; political assassinations; and state collusion with unionist death squads. The attack on the funeral in Milltown Cemetery illustrates the extent of institutionalised collusion with unionist death squads.
"Then as now British government policy was and is to cover-up the truth of what happened; to tell lies; to manipulate the legal, judicial and media institutions to tell one version of the events and deny the families of victims and the public the opportunity to get to the truth."
Mr. Adams also expressed his strongly held view that "agencies of the Irish government of the day passed information to the British authorities about the movements of those killed. I cannot prove that but that is my conviction".
"Many families of those killed as a result of state collusion with death squads and survivors want a full international and independent inquiry into collusion. It is in everyone's interest that this takes place.
"Collusion was a policy of the British state and those who carried it out as agents of the state and their surrogates in the death squads were paid huge amounts of taxpayers money to kill citizens."
The Sinn Féin President singled out the bravery of the mourners who confronted the armed unionist, and without whose "selfless heroism many more would have died that day".
Mr. Adams also commented on the efforts by unionist parties, supported by the SDLP to have the International Women's Day event in Parliament Buildings banned. And he warned the DUP against picking "sham and phoney fights with Sinn Féin in the time ahead".
Mr. Adams told the crowd:
"As you know the unionists and the SDLP voted to ban our use of the Long Gallery.
"They even went so far as to ban the TV cameras from being allowed to go upstairs in the Building, although this was so obviously impractical that cameras were present at the event.
"Presumably the unionists thought that would be the end of the matter.
"But Republicans have been banned, and censored and excluded before. Banned as a political party; banned from our city Centre; banned from the airwaves; banned and demonized and vilified, and we came through it all.
""he unionists and the SDLP called it wrong and they failed. Our event went ahead, and it was a good event - an uplifting event and I want to commend all of those who participated. We said that it would be dignified and respectful - and it was.
"But the DUP need to learn an important lesson from this. That party needs to take a step back. It should reflect on the position we all find ourselves in as we try to build confidence into these institutions.
"And it needs to realise that picking sham fights with Sinn Féin is not the way forward. It is not the way to build sustainability into the political institutions. It is not the way to do business with political partners in government.
"As we work during the next few months to persuade US investors and others to attend an investment conference in May, which is about creating jobs for people, picking sham fights will only serve to dissuade business people to come here." ENDS