By Ray O’Hanlon
The IRA does not have to begin decommissioning its weapons this year but Sinn Féin is committed to using any influence it has to take all the guns out of Irish politics by the deadline of May, 2000," Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said this week in a speech at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh.
Adams, who flew from Pittsburgh by private jet to Albany, NY Tuesday for a meeting with Governor George Pataki, told his audience that he wanted to see a new government in place in Northern Ireland before decommissioning.
He warned that if such an administration was not in place by next May, first anniversary of the Assembly elections, the effort to secure a new government would collapse.
"There’s a fairly hefty work program that needs to proceed," the Irish American Information Service reported Adams as saying.
Adams said that an agreement to stow away weapons was more reasonable than forcing the IRA to disarm now.
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"Those with guns are not willing to give them up during negotiations. They are waiting to see what happens," Adams said.
Adams was due to attend two fundraisers in Albany Tuesday night. The main event of his week-long fundraising trip takes place tonight at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
The event has been sold out with 400 guests paying $500 each to attend, Friends of Sinn Féin President Larry Downes told the Echo.
Downes said that FOSF was hoping to gross about $400,000 for this week’s tour.
The fundraising group is hoping for Irish American generosity since the group’s office in Washington D.C. is no longer being subsidized by billionaire Chuck Feeney. According to Downes, Feeney concluded his agreed three-year $20,000-a-month subsidy several months ago.
Adams, meanwhile, is due in Fairfield, Conn. Thursday, Philadelphia on Friday and New York again on Saturday for a birthday party at Webster Hall. He will conclude his tour Sunday in Boston.
Fr. Pat back
Fr. Pat Moloney, recently released from federal prison after serving four years arising from the January, 1993 Brink’s armored car robbery in Rochester, NY, is out of a half-way house and back at his home, Bonitas House, on Manhattan’s lower east side. Fr. Moloney’s release – he continues to deny that he knowingly came into possession of money stolen in the heist – has been covered in several reports, including one in the New York Times. The Limerick-born Melkite priest is a scheduled guest on WBAI’s Radio Free Eireann fundraising program this Saturday, Oct. 17 from noon to 3 p.m.
Mitchell to speak
North peace broker George Mitchell will discuss the peace process Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 1.30 p.m. at the Konover Auditorium of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Mitchell is one of a number of figures being tipped as a possible winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. For details call Sherry Fisher at (860)486-3530.