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Gerry Adams calls on people to be measured in their comments

18 February, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking to RTE this afternoon described unfolding events as very serious. He called on people to be measured in their comments and not to make any knee-jerk judgements. Mr. Adams said:

"I only became aware of these developments very late last night. This is a serious situation and. I'm flying back to Ireland to get a handle on all of this and I've asked for a report on my return. I would ask people to be measured and not to make any knee-jerk judgements about all of this.

"Sinn Féin is opposed to crime. There are members of other parties who have been imprisoned because of their involvement in corruption and other activities. But unlike Michael McDowell I don't tar every member of those parties. I don't try to tar their entire electorate with the awful smear and slur of criminality.

"I don't want to be tainted with criminality. I don't want anybody near me who is involved in criminality. I will face up to all of these issues if and when they emerge. I have to reflect on all of this and I'm not making any judgments and I'm certainly not going to be taking advice from Michael McDowell. Michael McDowell was saying the same things in the 1990s as he is saying now. Michael McDowell attacked John Hume for even daring to talk to me. So, this is all regurgitated invective and insults.

"I'm the Sinn Féin President and Sinn Féin has been subject to public accusations. So, of course I have to take that seriously. Not only do I have to uphold the integrity of the party and my own integrity, I have to be very open in looking at what may or may not be happening at this time.

"Malign elements in the British system are sitting back and watching all of this with glee. Ian Paisley, who scuppered the efforts to bring about a closure on every issue in the peace process, is sitting back silently watching as Irish nationalism beats up on itself and others as some parties seek to destroy Sinn Féin.

"I'm not in politics for the good of my health. I'm not in politics for ministerial office. I‚m not in politics for the big salary. I know that there are a lot of people in politics, in all the parties, who are motivated to give public service. I think that I still have a role to play in terms of the peace process and in terms of the equality agenda and in terms of the changes that I believe are required in the island of Ireland and I want to see a united Ireland.

"Sinn Féin will weather this storm. I will not walk away from any challenge, which presents itself in the time ahead. If Sinn Féin has issues to deal with, we will deal with those issues. We didn‚t play the leadership role we played in this process, or make the progress that has been made, by walking away or being engaged in pretend games or putting our heads in the sand. We live in the real world. We know how much people depend on us to make this peace process work and we will not fail the people whatever that means in the time ahead."ENDS

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