Belfast Telegraph

Price to be paid for talks: Adams

By Noel McAdam, Political Correspondent
04 October 2004

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has conceded there is 'a certain price to be paid' for the DUP coming into the political process.

But he has insisted the price cannot be the 'fundamentals' of the Good Friday Agreement.

"We want to do business but it cannot be exclusively on their terms," he said. "The old days of Paisleyism are finished."

As he prepared to meet Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin today, Mr Adams also chided the DUP over its continued refusal to meet his party face-to-face.

"The DUP continues to refuse to recognise the right of the Sinn Fein electorate," said Mr Adams. "We hear this is the new confident unionism. Where is the confidence?" Mr Adams' criticism followed last week's ground-breaking talks in Dublin between the DUP and Mr Ahern after which the Taoiseach said the DUP was not seeking to undermine the fundamentals of the Agreement.

Anticipated proposals from the two Governments are not now expected to emerge this week as behind-the-scenes moves continue to bridge the gaps between parties.

Mr Adams said it was generally accepted that the IRA was prepared to make an historic move forward, although he refused to speculate on details.

But he added: "I would speculate you are unlikely to get anything from the IRA for less than the Good Friday Agreement.".

Mr Adams said it appeared the Government was "pandering" to the anti-Agreement party.

The notion the Governments had of putting forward proposals which tamper with the fundamentals of the Agreement was "very, very dangerous".

He said the DUP would not come forward with a suitable timeframe for the devolution of policing and justice and did not appear to have contributed to the equality issue.

DUP councillors have meanwhile unsurprisingly given their backing to the tactics and policies adopted by the party negotiating team at Leeds Castle and since.

The party's councillors' association said there was a new confidence in the unionist community and the party was in the business of delivering a better way forward.

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