Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin to challenge British Government sanction in Courts

19 May, 2004

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was joined by party colleagues Bairbre de Brún and Conor Murphy this morning as he revealed details of a legal challenge against the decision of the British government to sanction Sinn Fein in the wake of the flawed IMC Report

Mr Adams said:

"British government sanctions discriminate against our electorate. They are undemocratic and in our view are a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle has now taken a decision to challenge the British government sanctions against our party through the courts.

"The IMC was established by the British and Irish governments last year. It is clearly in contravention of the Good Friday Agreement. The role of the IMC was to facilitate the exclusion of Sinn Féin, to soft pedal on unionist violence and to ignore totally the behaviour of the British government, the party most in breach of the Agreement.

"The IMC is not independent. That much is obvious from its remit and membership.

"The recent report from the IMC, which the British government is using as the basis to discriminate against Sinn Féin, is a proxy report by the securocrats, PSNI and British Army. The recommendations are clearly discriminatory and subvert the democratic and electoral rights and mandate of Sinn Féin and our electorate.

"Moreover the IMC report itself acknowledges that Sinn Féin "is not in a position actually to determine what policies or operational strategies PIRA will adopt." Having admitted this and accepted that Sinn Féin has used its influence it then proceeds to recommend sanctions against us.

"We take this case not in the expectation of a British court finding against a British government in favour of Sinn Féin but we are duty bound to defend the rights and entitlements of our electorate and also to exhaust all domestic remedies in so doing." ENDS

Note to editor

  • The IMC is not part of the Agreement
  • It relies on reports from securocrats and security services/PSNI, hence is not independent, a smokescreen for political intervention on basis of securocrat agenda.
  • Its membership includes - John Alderdice, a political opponent of SF for the past 30 years, John Grieve, former head of the Metropolitan Police and officer in charge of the operation in which unarmed IRA volunteer Diarmuid O‚Neill who, while trying to surrender, was shot dead by police, and Joe Brosnan, former Secretary General of the Department of Justice in Dublin, and Richard Kerr, former Deputy Director of the CIA
  • The IMC recommends sanctions against Sinn Féin, yet offers not even one allegation that Sinn Féin is in any way in breach of the Agreement, nor does it suggest Sinn Féin are.
  • The IMC recognises that Sinn Féin is not the IRA, that SF is not in a position to determine what the IRA may do, that Sinn Féin has used its influence well.
  • The IMC report is clearly absurd and contradictory and its conclusions are politically driven.
  • Sinn Féin is not in breach of the Agreement. In fact we have used our influence to good effect throughout this process.
  • And of course Sinn Féin will not be held responsible for any words or deeds other than our own.
  • The irony is that the most glaring breach of the Agreement and one which is continuing is the suspension of the political institutions by the British Government.
  • Continuing suspension allows unionists who otherwise would be exposed as refusing to take part in the institutions off the hook.
  • The IMC's report disgracefully reduces the ongoing unionist paramilitary campaign of bombing and murder to a postscript with reference to murders by loyalists such as the killing of James McMahon or Andrew Cully lumped together in a single sentence. And, of course the report exonerated the two governments entirely.
  • It is noticeable that the report failed to mention the DUP‚s links with Ulster Resistance or to draw attention to the fact that the bulk of the guns imported by British Agent Brian Nelson remain in the hands of unionist paramilitaries.
  • Nor does the report draw attention to the UUP membership of the Loyalist Commission, at a time when the unionist paramilitary organisations on this Commission were carrying out murders and other attacks on Catholics and nationalists, that the UUP remain on the Commission, or that the UUP is linked to the Orange Order who annually visit violence on sections of the Catholic community during their marching season.
  • Sinn Féin is happy to engage in a debate on who is in breach of the Agreement, in fact we have asked for this in the Review.
  • The Good Friday Agreement deals with the issue of sanctions, and that we fully support. The so-called sanctions mechanism and the powers accrued to the British Secretary of State as a result of the legislation which accompanied the establishment of the IMC are a breach of the Agreement ˆ in fact they contravene the safeguards built into the Agreement and its provisions for democratic accountability.
  • This financial penalty will undermine the capacity of Sinn Féin to fulfil their duties as MLAs
  • We demand for our electorate the same democratic rights, entitlements and treatment as all other sections of the electorate.
  • The Sinn Féin mandate must therefore be respected.

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