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Adams - would any sensible Irish person trust Michael McDowell with the Peace Process

27 January, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP is in London this afternoon briefing British MPs and the international media on the peace process. Accompanying Mr. Adams are Martin McGuinness MP, Michelle Gildernew MP and Cllr Joe Reilly. The Sinn Féin delegation will meet with Tony Blair tomorrow morning.

Responding to questions from the media today Mr. Adams said:

"It is obvious that electoral and party politics, plus a view that no progress is possible before the upcoming elections, is impacting on the behaviour of the Irish government and the outrageous commentary which we have witnessed from them in recent days. By taking up the Michael McDowell line, the Taoiseach is sending a clear signal of how he sees the future of the process at least in the short term.

"The Taoiseach, of course, has to stand over his remarks but he will know that the tremendous progress achieved thus far in the Peace Process flowed from a general consensus among parties with a broadly nationalist outlook. That meant that party political and other differences were subordinate to the national interest.

The process has been in greatest difficulty when disunity among Irish parties allowed the British system and it‚s allies in Ireland to set the agenda. That is what is happening at this time.

When the integrity of the Sinn Féin party is being attacked we will defend ourselves robustly. When the rights of our electorate are being threatened, Sinn Féin will defend those rights.

We have no apologies to make to any political party or leadership for our stewardship of the Peace Process. We have never said we had all the answers. If others think they can do better then they are welcome to try. But would any sensible Irish person trust Michael McDowell with the Peace Process?

"The Taoiseach may have deflected media and opposition attention from the Ray Burke affair, but he needs to consider where this takes the process in the longer term."ENDS

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