Category: Archive

Adams warns against changes to Patten

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

On his way to receive a honorary degree from a Massachusetts college, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams held a brief press conference in New York on Saturday to welcome the Ulster Unionist Council vote to reenter the power-sharing government with his party.

In his morning meeting with reporters in a Manhattan bar, the Sinn Fein leader praised the move by the Ulster Unionist Party’s ruling body, but warned that the British government must keep to its commitment, especially on the implementation of policing reforms.

"Sinn Fein welcomes today’s decision by the Ulster Unionist Council. It is the right decision. It will also be welcomed by the people of Ireland and beyond," Adams said.

"There is a clear onus on everyone involved to honor their commitment, and especially for the British government, which has to fulfill its commitment to the Good Friday agreement and the joint statement of May 6."

Questioned on recent reports about the British government seeking assistance from the White House on policing concessions, Adams said the May statement by the IRA had come in a context, particularly regarding the Patten Report.

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"That is the basis on which Mr. Blair signed up, that is the contract which was created. The joint statement says the British government will implement the Patten report. It’s very clear. There is no ambiguity."

But the Sinn Fein leader dismissed questions on weapons and said he had confidence that the IRA would keep to its word.

"I have more confidence that the IRA will keep to its commitment than I have about any other group, or any other government or any other institution in this process," he said.

"Let’s not have the next phase infected with media and other fetishes about guns. Let’s let that part of the process move quietly and constructively and positively and let’s all seek to make politics work, which is the only way to take the guns out of the situation."

Adams also warned there were still those who would reject the process and resist the concepts of change. "The rejection camp are going to regroup and they need to be faced down," he said. "Every issue is going to be a battle."

On Sunday, Adams received an honorary degree and gave a commencement address at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

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