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Adams - DUP must reflect on their position after eight homes attacked

6 December, 2003

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said that those within the political leadership of unionism who refuse to talk to Sinn Féin must now reflect upon their position and the message they are sending to the unionist paramilitaries in the wake of the attacks on the homes of eight republicans in West Belfast last night, including MLA Gerry Kelly and Councillor Paul Butler .

Mr. Adams said:

" Firstly I am obviously relieved that nobody was injured in last nights gun attacks. However last night's shootings raise very serious issues, particularly for the unionist parties who have up until now remained silent on the matter.

"The DUP who are now in the political leadership of unionism and who are refusing to engage with our party have to reflect upon the message they are sending to the violent wing of unionism in the wake of attacks like the one on the home of Sinn Féin Councillor Paul Butler and the home of MLA Gerry Kelly last night.

"If unionist political leaders constantly send out a message that they will not engage with Sinn Féin or respect the mandate of that party, or exclude representatives like Paul Butler from civic positions, then they have to expect that those within the paramilitary section of unionism will respond in the manner we witnessed last night.

"I would urge those within the DUP leadership to review their position in the wake of last nights attack and reflect seriously on the effect that the position which they have adopted is having on the unionist paramilitaries.

"Sinn Féin remain committed to dialogue with our political opponents and we respect and recognise the mandates of all of the other parties. Such an inclusive approach is the only realistic option for the DUP to adopt if the peace process is to be bedded down and inclusive political institutions are to be re-established."ENDS

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