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Paris Attacks condemned – Adams

17 November, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has condemned “in the strongest possible terms the deplorable, murderous attacks perpetrated in Paris last Friday”.

The Sinn Féin leader extended his “sincerest sympathies and solidarity to the French Ambassador, to the victims, their families and to the people of Paris and of France with which Ireland has deep, historic and cultural ties”.

Speaking in the Dáil, Gerry Adams TD said that “all of us also need to stand against fundamentalism, bigotry, sectarianism and racism.”

Full Text of his speech below

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On behalf of Sinn Féin, I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms the deplorable, murderous attacks perpetrated in Paris last Friday.

Thar ceann Shinn Féin ba mhaith liom cáineadh láidir a dhéanamh ar na hionsaithe uafásacha a tharla Dé hAoine i bPáras.

Seasann muid leis na daoine a maríodh agus a gortaíodh agus lena muintir.

I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies and solidarity to the French Ambassador, to the victims, their families and to the people of Paris and of France with which Ireland has deep, historic and cultural ties.

France and Ireland enjoy extremely good relations, not least through our shared revolutionary history and republican values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

And people on this island have, like those all over the world, watched with deep shock and horror as the events in Paris unfolded.

The victims of these dreadful attacks were innocent people, many of them young people, enjoying a Friday night out with friends and family. They come from at least fifteen countries.

They posed no threat to anyone but were targeted without cause, without justification or without mercy.

Families were cruelly robbed of their loved ones - sons, daughters, spouses, parents and siblings.

We have seen, through widespread and heartening messages and demonstrations of solidarity, that Ireland and the world stands united with the people of Paris and of France at this awful time.

All of us also need to stand against fundamentalism, bigotry, sectarianism and racism.

Agus muid ag amharc ar imeachtaí oíche Aoine, smaoinigh muid siar ar na hionsaithe gránna i bPáras i mí Eanáir.

The deaths of journalists, cartoonists and satirists - as well as civilians - in Paris on January 7th provoked justifiable outrage.

So far this year 47 journalists have been killed around the world.

Tragically, the violence that we witnessed in Paris on Friday has also been mirrored in countless other barbaric acts.

Last Thursday twin explosions in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, killed 43 people and wounded more than 200 others.

Last month bomb attacks in Yemen killed 35 people.

In the years of civil war in Syria over a quarter of a million men, women and children, mostly civilians have been killed.

In October twin blasts in Ankara claimed the lives of over 100 civilians.

A bomb was responsible for destroying the Metrojet that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on October 31st.

All 224 people on board were killed.

51.2 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide.

Approximately 3,500 people have died at sea since January making the desperate crossing to Europe in the coffin ships.

These victims too were ordinary, innocent civilians.

Sin iad na deartháireacha agus deirfiúracha s’againne.

Like the citizens of Paris who played no part in these events, the people of the Middle East are entitled to live in peace and to pursue happiness and prosperity.

And while we think of the victims in Paris, Beirut, Yemen and Syria let us also remember the thousands, mainly civilians, including hundreds of children who were killed in brutal assaults in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In the summer of last year 2,000 people, mainly civilians, including 500 children, and 13 journalists died during the Israeli assault on Gaza.

Like the Israeli citizens who also died at that time, they bleed like the rest of us, they grieve like the rest of us and they are equally deserving of our sympathy, compassion and solidarity.

Those behind the attacks in Paris and those who are daily perpetrating horrendous violence and injustice against civilian populations in Syria and Iraq are the enemies of all lovers of freedom and justice.

This is not a conflict between East and West, or between Islam and Christianity but between fundamentalism and freedom.

Whatever our religion, the colour of our skin or our nationality there can be no excuse for these attacks.

Wherever injustice or oppression or hatred exists, it must be confronted and challenged.

Wherever anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or sectarianism or racism exists it must be vigorously opposed.

So too, must poverty, injustice, inequality, discrimination, and imperialism.

ISIS and other fundamentalist groups thrive on the chaos and destruction wrought on Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East as a direct result of western military and political interference.

This reality cannot be ignored.

The world has become a more violent, less secure place since September 11 2001.

The horrendous attack on the World Trade Centre in New York resulted in a misguided war with Western forces first bombing and then occupying Afghanistan.

This had major long-term implications for neighbouring countries and, indeed the rest of the world.

The Afghan war played straight into the hands those seeking to promote Western militarism all over the world.

Under the leadership of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, war in Afghanistan developed into a general global conflict and to war with Iraq.

As one war leads to another, Iraq developed into a war in Libya and north Africa and the death toll has grown ever since.

The so-called ‘war on terror’ has extended to Africa with the bombing of Libya and Mali and the growth of Boko Haram in Nigeria as well as the continued problems in Somalia.

The US and Coalition forces have carried out 8,125 bomb attacks in Iraq and Syria in the last 12 months.

We have also witnessed conflict in the Ukraine and growing tensions between Russia and the West.

There has to be a much deeper understanding, both of the causes of wars and their consequences for everybody.

Alongside the dead and injured in Paris those suffering the most from the actions of ISIS are the citizens of the Middle East.

Serious questions need to be asked about the funding and arming of groups such as ISIS.

Unfortunately the west has an inconsistent and duplicitous track record in its dealings with Islamic fundamentalist groups in the Middle East.

It is clear that arms from Western powers have ended up in the hands of these groups.

London’s Independent newspaper in 2013 claimed that the British government made £12 billion from arms sales around the world mainly in the Middle East and Africa.

Western duplicity and cynicism towards the Middle East must end if there is to be a peaceful, democratic future for the citizens of that region.

And the running sore that is the treatment of the Palestinian people must be faced up to once and for all if there is to be peace in that part of the world.

The horrific attacks in Paris must not become an excuse for attacks on Islam or on the rights of Muslim people; or to target or turn away from our responsibility toward the hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving in Europe, many of whom are fleeing the same fundamentalist forces who carried out the Paris attacks.

The actions of ISIS, the attacks in Paris and the alarming rise of far right parties must act as a catalyst for European governments and the European Union and Commission to counteract this sentiment.

Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs has said all of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals.

So, the European Union must do more to combat alienation and to promote integration, equality and respect for diversity.

It is our responsibility to stand united in defiance of murder, threats and intimidation. And to stand with the people of France and of Paris.

It is also our responsibility as political representatives and political leaders to go beyond mere rhetoric.

I welcome the Taoiseach’s assertion today that in formulating the international response we must seek to tackle the root causes.

That means Ireland needs to pursue a foreign policy based on peace making and human values. NATO has expanded globally and there are efforts through the Lisbon Treaty to link in the EU. Irish neutrality continues to be weakened.

This has included decisions to join NATO lead Partnership for Peace (PfP), and the utilisation of Shannon Airport to transport troops to join the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Despite plans for the creation of a Common European Army, Irish citizens deeply value our neutrality and oppose any Irish role in the growing militarisation of Europe.

The government must reflect this view and move to defend and promote Irish neutrality.

No matter how difficult it is there is an urgent need to find a durable settlement to the conflict in Syria.

We have a duty to understand and confront the causes of violence and division.

Our thoughts today are with the people of Paris and with all victims of conflict across the globe. We can only imaghine the pain and hurt they feel.

We can only imagine the panic, the shock, the grief of Parisians and of the people of France.

We are confident that their strength, their courage, their humanity will see them through. We stand in solidarity with them.

Sna laethanta amach romhainn caithfimid a chinntiú nach gcuireann freagra an phobail domhanda leis an chrautan agus an phian atá ann faoi láthair.

We know from our own troubled history that there are no purely military solutions.

Diplomacy, negotiations and political resolution of conflict is key.

As a lasting tribute to the victims in Paris – and to all victims of global conflict  – world leaders must redouble efforts to resolve conflict and to build peace.

We and our government have a positive role to play in that.”

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