The Guardian April 16, 2003

Sinn Fein pins Britain down on peace

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams told the Sinn Fein 2003 Ard Fheis in 
Dublin last weekend that the British government has made "substantive 
movement or commitments to movement on key issues" in recent talks on the 
peace process in Ireland.

He stressed that "these commitments have been achieved solely by the Sinn 
Fein negotiating team."

Adams also said that "no decision to support the current policing 
proposition" was made by the Party's National Executive (Ard Chomhairle).

He assured the annual conference that no such decision would be taken 
without a specially convened Ard Fheis and before a full debate Involving 
Sinn Fein's whole membership.

Adams recalled that the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the 
Irish Government had gone along with British Government's stance on 
policing. The SDLP later claimed credit for British concessions that were 
actually won by Sinn Fein.

"The broad nationalist consensus was broken on this issue", he said. "It 
was left to Sinn Fein to carry forward the demand for an end to politically 
partisan policing and for an accountable, representative, human rights 
based, and civic police service.

"The results of some of that work can be seen in the amendments to 
legislation going through the British Parliament at this time. Other 
elements of it will become public if the British keep to their commitments 
in the time ahead."

Adams stressed that rather than confronting the SDLP on policing, "I want 
to see a consensus re-established on the policing issue as well as on all 
the other outstanding aspects of the Good Friday Agreement."

Adams also reached out to the Protestant and loyalist working class 
communities which "in many ways have been abandoned", calling for "a 
prolonged and consistent policy which will remove social grievances and 
reduce alienation is essential."

"Let the message go out from us here today, to loyalist and unionist 
working class areas  we understand what is happening to you and we know 
such problems must be addressed."

Sinn Fein is also taking steps to ensure a higher number of women 
candidates in elections in the north and south of Ireland, Gerry Adams 
revealed, saying "we have to increase our representation of women at all 
levels within the party and at all levels of political representation."

He declared that Sinn Fein is firmly opposed to Anglo-American 
imperialism's war on Iraq and demanded that the Big Powers "declare war 
against world poverty" instead.

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New Worker, paper of New Communist Party of Britain

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