Republicans facing tough choice, admits Adams

27/02/2005 - 15:00:58

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Republicans will face hard choices as they push ahead with their political plans and attempt to achieve a united Ireland, Gerry Adams said today.

At a commemoration for two IRA members Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley in south Armagh, the Sinn Fein leader again stressed that his party rejected criminality and believed no republican worthy of the name could be involved in criminal acts.

But, in a clear response to demands from political opponents for republicans to change tack in the process, he also acknowledged that having taken so many risks to move the peace process forward in recent years, the Republican movement would face even more difficult challenges in the time ahead.

And as the family of Belfast father of two, Robert McCartney, whose murder has led to the expulsion of three IRA members, held a vigil in east Belfast, Mr Adams said he fully supported their demands for the truth of what happened to emerge.

The West Belfast MP told republicans: “Robert McCartney’s murder has shocked hundreds of thousands of republicans throughout Ireland and we are united in our call for anyone with information about the killing to come forward.

“I want to send my support to the rally which is taking place in the Short Strand this afternoon and which is being attended by Sinn Fein leaders in the city.

“Sinn Fein fully supports the family of Robert McCartney in their demand for justice and truth. I have met the family and I remain in contact with them.”

With republicans under pressure to wind down IRA activities following Mr McCartney’s murder and December’s Northern Bank robbery, Mr Adams acknowledged the political process was in grave difficulty.

But in a reference to recent strained relations with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, he said: “The republican people of Belfast do not need Irish Government ministers to lecture us on our patriotic duties. Nor should they or others in a political establishment in Dublin demonise the good people of the Markets and the Short Strand.

“Sinn Fein is totally and absolutely committed to bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion.

“We are also committed to bringing about Irish unity and independence and to representing all those who vote for us.

“And while we will not shirk in our responsibilities we will not allow politicians, especially those who are glorying in the current difficulties to criminalise those who support us or, more importantly, to set the political agenda.”

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