Give IRA time to deliver on statement: Adams

SINN FÉIN president Gerry Adams yesterday refused to speculate when the IRA will come forward with its anticipated statement on the future of the organisation.

Amid continued speculation that the statement, which was called for by Mr Adams in April, is imminent, the Sinn Féin leader met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin yesterday.

The hour-long meeting, at Mr Ahern’s constituency office in Drumcondra, was also attended by Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern.

And although this week’s Ardoyne disturbances and the anticipated IRA statement were discussed at yesterday’s meeting, Government sources said afterwards there was still no “clarity” as to when the IRA statement might materialise. “We got no clarity in terms of when it might come,” said a Government spokesperson.

But officials in both the British and Irish Governments, as well as unionists, insist the statement will only have credibility if the IRA proves over time that all paramilitary or criminal activity has ended.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Adams objected to suggestions the statement was overdue and said he remained positive about what it would say.

“What do you mean the long-awaited statement from the IRA? I only made my appeal in April. Let’s give time to these people to sort out this matter. I’ve stayed away from speculating about what time it will take.

“Obviously the focus has to be on the type of positive outcome that I have appealed for. Let’s all of us try and manage the situation as best we can between now and then,” he said.

Mr Adams also refused to speculate on how any further marching season disturbances may impact on any impending statement.

“I don’t want to speculate about anything other than all of us to try and ensure that the continuation of this marching season is as peaceful as possible.”

With more contentious parades looming, Mr Adams said the peace process had “gotten off lightly” at Ardoyne and called on the Orange Order to engage in dialogue to stop planned marches spilling over into violence.

“I know there’s been a focus on how the whole thing broke down but I think, relatively speaking, we got off very lightly despite the fact that the Orangemen won’t talk and we got off very lightly despite the fact that the Parades Commission made the type of decision they did.

“I would like to think that this entire process doesn’t end up with peoples’ lives being turned upside down every time Orangemen or other marching orders want to go in somewhere where they are not welcome,” he said.

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