Adams 'might be wrong' on robbery

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said he "might be wrong" in his belief the IRA was not involved in a £26.5m Northern Bank robbery in Belfast.

However, he insisted Sinn Fein had nothing to do with the raid at the bank's headquarters on 20 December.

Mr Adams made the comments in an interview for a Spanish radio station, during a three-day visit to Spain.

The police and the body monitoring paramilitary activity have blamed the raid on the IRA. The IRA has denied it.

Mr Adams is currently in Spain promoting his book Hope and History.

He is also holding discussions with politicians during his visits to Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao.

During a lengthy interview for the Madrid radio station, Cardenasur, the Sinn Fein president was again questioned about allegations that the IRA carried out the Northern Bank raid.

Mr Adams replied that "no-one except the bank robbers" knew who had robbed the bank.

He pointed out that the IRA had said it was not involved. He said he believed them adding: "Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe them."

He assured Spanish listeners that Sinn Fein was not involved and pointed to the Chief Constable Hugh Orde's recent comment that he had no idea whether Sinn Fein people had prior knowledge.

Mr Adams acknowledged that the allegations about the raid had added to the "bad political atmosphere", but expressed hope that there could be forward movement after the forthcoming general election.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said the Northern Ireland Assembly should be recalled to set in motion the system for excluding Sinn Fein from government.

Mr Trimble, who has written to the prime minister, said it should be announced when the Northern Ireland secretary makes a Commons statement next week.

Paul Murphy is set to give his response to a report which said some Sinn Fein leaders sanctioned the Northern Bank raid.

The Independent Monitoring Commission report said the party should bear its share of the blame for a series of robberies and that it should face financial sanctions.

The commission said it would have recommended Sinn Fein's exclusion from office if the assembly was still sitting.

Mr Murphy said he would consider the commission's recommendations and planned to make a further statement in the House of Commons next week.

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