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.
* * *New Worker, paper of New Communist Party of Britain