Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Adams - Resistance to change has created crisis in the process

8 February, 2003

nto this crisis there is no sign so far that the British government are willing to move effectively to deal with this.'

He went on, 'the current crisis in the peace process is not about the IRA. It is about resistance to change and the growth of Sinn Fein as an engine for change. It is about delaying the equality agenda. It is about the growth of republicanism across this island."

Mr. Adams said:

Sinn Fein has been at the heart of the peace process, of the negotiations and the Good Friday Agreement, and at the heart of the changes which have resulted from all of this.

We continue to drive the process of change. We are committed to achieving the new beginning which was agreed on Good Fridarimble's approach has not changed over the last 5 years.

Over the last five years on several occasions he has sought to have Sinn Féin expelled from the Executive. He has not been successful.

But what he did succeed in doing was to get the British government to act outside the terms of the Agreement and to unilaterally introduce suspension legislation. It is apparent that the British government are pursuing a strategy whereby the survival of David Trimble as leader of the UUP is more important than the survival of the Agreement itself.

And Mr. Trimble has successfully exploited this willingness on the part of London. This approach has been aided by other elements of the British system who are still waging war against republicans.

In the almost 5 years since Good Friday 1998 the political institutions, in a clear breach of the agreement, have been functioning for less than half of that time. On 4 separate occasions, at the behest.

But for many nationalists and republicans there is a serious question mark over whether Mr. Trimble is willing or able to lead Unionism in support of the Good Friday Agreement.

What is clear is that resistance to change has created yet another crisis in the process. And four months into this crisis there is no sign so far that the British government are willing to move effectively to deal with this.

Accordingly we have seen much speculation in the media about a possible move by the IRA.

Let's put all of this into some sort of perspective. In the negotiations Sinn Féin are seeking the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as agreed by the British government and the unionistcontinue to target republicans.

While Loyalist death squads wage war on the catholic community and each other and their actions temporarily fill our TV screens, the focus continues to be on the Irish Republican Army. Is this the climate for a significant move by the IRA? I hardly think so. Does any one think there will be movement unless everyone moves? Unless the British government honours its obligations?

The current crisis in the peace process is not about the IRA. Of course the existence of the IRA is an affront to its enemies. But this process is about changing all that in a way which will bring an end to all the armed groups. Can that be achieved by ganging up on republicans? Or making movement towards basic rights conditional on movement by the IRA? Or by punishing Sinn Fein voters and other citizens if the IRA doesn't comply with unionist demands.

The underlying problems in the process and the current crisis is about resistance togislation was brought in to deal with the registration of voters here. This legislation has wiped tens of thousands of voters from the register. Every political party is affected by this, but the areas and people most affected are those where Sinn Fein is strongest. Nationalist, working class and young voters have been particularly disenfranchised.This is an issue of democratic rights. Every political party should be concerned about the fact that people are being disenfranchised. It is my very firm view that the motivation behind this legislation is designed to limit Sinn Fein's growth as a political party.

The focus for us must be to thwart the efforts to prevent the process of change. We must continue to build our political strength, and to defend the Good Friday Agreement.

Our party will not dodge our responsibilities in the times ahead. There is no way forward except through negotiations. We are agents of change and our commitment is to play a full role in meeting every challenge in the time ahead.

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