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Adams - Period of intense contact required to get process back on track

23 April, 2004


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking in London following his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "We had a very frank discussion, during which we told the Prime Minister that we totally and absolutely reject and resent the effort by the two governments to penalise and discriminate against our party through the IMC Report. We also criticised the decision to reject the Finucane family's request for an independent judicial inquiry." In relation to current difficulties in the peace process Mr. Adams said "The cancellation of talks planned for next week is a mistake. We have been arguing for a short sharp focused approach and in our view there is now going to be a period of intense contact between us on all of these matters."

Mr. Adams said:

"The political process in Ireland is in deep crisis. Before Easter I wrote to the British Prime Minister outlining our view of what is needed to get the process working again. At that time I requested a meeting to discuss these matters and the outstanding issue of an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. That meeting went ahead today. But with the publication of the so-called IMC Report it had a new and added dimension.

"We had a very frank discussion, during which we told the Prime Minister that we totally and absolutely reject and resent the effort by the two governments to penalise and discriminate against our party through the IMC Report. I have to say that there is a fundamental difference of opinion between Mr. Blair and Sinn Féin on this issue.

"We also argued that there is an urgent need for both governments to honour the commitments made by them in October and pressed him on the issue of collusion. In particular we said that the rejection of the Finucane family's request for an independent judicial inquiry is totally unacceptable. While many of the collusion murders occurred under a previous administration, the refusal of this government to face up to its responsibilities means that it is coming under increasing pressure and getting the blame. It is time that they moved on this issue.

"Let me say that the Sinn Féin leadership has worked with Mr Blair, sometimes in very difficult circumstances to make this process work. We appreciate the contribution which he has made. The Prime Minister told us both publicly and privately that urgent progress is desirable and possible.

"The cancellation of talks planned for next week is a mistake. We have been arguing for a short sharp focused approach and in our view there is now going to be a period of intense contact between us on all of these matters. But no government is infallible and its actions and inactions can make a bad situation worse. In our view the peace process is at that point. It may be that other government priorities have contributed to a lack of focus. It may be that both governments are busy on other priorities. Whatever the case there can be nothing more important than completing the peace process. We have not lost our commitment. But others have to keep both their focus and commitments."ENDS

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