Working for Progress and Stability
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams gave a speech
in Newry, Co Down, on January 27. In focusing on the decommissioning issue,
Gerry Adams said:
``I remain committed to decommissioning as an essential
part of the peace process and I will continue to work to try and bring this
about. But I have to say that the achievement of this objective has been set
back by the way it is being used as a political football by the unionists at
``I understand why unionists and others want
decommissioning now. I can see it from the unionist point of view. But
non-republicans need to see this issue from the IRA's point of view, a view
that is shared by many nationalists. It is not easy to get the IRA, or indeed
any of the armed groups, to do this speedily. This is the reality. I know there
are other and opposite realities so Sinn Féin have attempted to base our
peace strategy in realpolitik in our efforts to bring about a complete and
absolute end of conflict. We are not dealing with tokens or symbols, gestures
or stunts. Our approach is much more deep-rooted and durable than that.
``In my view the vast majority of people appreciate the
significance of the IRA cessation They understand the political dynamic that
brought this about and they have a sense of the huge effort it took for the IRA
to engage with the Decommissioning Commission.
``So, there is a need for unionism to be patient and for
people to have faith.
``Sinn Féin is genuinely committed to resolving the
arms issue and I believe that this issue will be resolved. The IRA has shown
its willingness to enhance the peace process through the silence of its guns
and through the engagement with the IICD. Is this to be thrown back in their
``It is a fundamental mistake in strategy to try to force
decommissioning by seeking to marginalise a political party and its electorate.
The strategy of political exclusion has failed and the redeployment of this
strategy, no matter how it is dressed up, will guarantee failure in the future
as it has always done in the past.
``The reality is that a collapse or even a soft landing or
another review phase would recreate a political vacuum, would reinforce and
encourage negative unionism, would put the entire process into jeopardy, and
would make decommissioning even more difficult than it has been so far.
``There is speculation that the British Government may be
considering triggering a review before the UUP ministers would resign because
there is some doubt about whether the First Minister would get re-elected.
``The only premise - and it would be an entirely fabricated
one - would be for this to be presented as a default on decommissioning. There
is no basis whatsoever for this and there is no basis in the Good Friday
Agreement for the British Government to trigger a review at this time outside
of the collapse of the Executive.
``There has been no default on decommissioning. There is no
reason for the Executive to collapse or for any minister to resign. Given the
progress that has been made and the progress which it is still possible to
make, there is no reason why the IICD report cannot be allowed to get on with
its work and why the forthcoming report cannot contribute positively to this.
``We want this process to work We want the institutions to
work. We want the permanent and lasting peace that will come with political
progress and stability. We want the economic benefits for a1l our people that a
stable political situation can deliver.
``With patience and perseverance I believe all aspects of
the Good Friday Agreement will be achieved. Let each of us give the other the
space that is needed to make a better job of our future than we have of our