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Adams comments on talks

16 January, 2010 - by Pat Sheehan, Westminster

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking today at Parliament Buildings on the current discussions with the DUP said:

“It is a work in progress. We will be meeting with the DUP this afternoon and again on Monday.

“Obviously tomorrow will give all of us an opportunity to reflect on the discussions.

“Earlier in the week I outlined my view that we were into serious talks and that they were focussed. I said at that time we were not going to be making any further comment on either the quality or the complexion, the atmosphere or indeed the detail of what is going on. People know the issues; they know the broad times frames, that is in the public domain also.

“So, really our focus has to be to make this work and it is my view that it can be made to work within the context of the Good Friday and St. Andrew’s Agreement. People will also make their judgement of all of this when we have product or when we don’t have product. At the moment I’m not anxious because we are very much in a work-in-progress mode.”

Asked about the briefing of the DUP MLAs this morning Mr. Adams said:

“We had a national officer board meeting on Thursday, we have been in touch with all of our Ard Chomhairle members and we will be meeting with our Assembly group on Monday. That’s all part of the necessary consultation that goes on within parties.”

Mr. Adams was asked if he was under pressure over the situation around his brother Liam.

Mr. Adams said:

“There obviously is a lot of personal pressures but I don’t feel under pressure, in terms of political pressure. Clearly the issue is being used by very hostile elements in sections of the media and by some of my political opponents who seek to undermine me. But that to one side Declan Kearney is the national party chair. Sinn Féin acknowledged from the outset that my brother Liam was a member of the party. Declan set out to establish his role within the party over a period and he released that yesterday and I commented on it.

“There are two difficulties for me. First of all my wider family, which includes victims and survivors of child abuse are private citizens and all of this innuendo and unsubstantiated allegations are being made with no concern whatsoever for how these private citizens are trying to cope with this trauma.

“Secondly, there is a court case pending. I have received a letter from the PSNI asking me not to comment on any of this and my solicitor has told me that this is his view also. He has very strongly advised me not to comment.

“So, I’m caught in a situation where there are public and political comments being made about all of this. I obviously want to defend my own integrity on this matter but I am restrained on the one hand because there are deeply emotive and emotional private family issues involved, and secondly because I am being told that this could prejudice the outcome of a pending court case.”

Asked about Liam Adams membership of Sinn Féin in Belfast Mr. Adams said:

“I got my brother Liam to leave Sinn Féin in County Louth. He later unbeknownst to me rejoined the party in west Belfast. Had I known that that was the case, and I didn’t know that until Thursday, when Declan gave us his report, I would have moved to get him to leave the party there also. It is my strong view that he should not have been in Sinn Féin.” ENDS

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