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Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Adams: Republicans 'frustrated' by ban

Trimble and Adams at loggerheads over sanctions
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said he has come under pressure from grassroots republicans to withdraw from Northern Ireland's political institutions.

Mr Adams said a ban on Sinn Fein ministers attending official meetings of cross-border bodies was causing frustration.

He was speaking after he and education minister Martin McGuinness met Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon on Tuesday to discuss the ban.

It was imposed on Mr McGuinness and health minister Bairbre de Brun last year by Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble.

The move was taken because the IRA have not yet handed over any weapons in the peace process.

Although Mr Adams has ruled out a withdrawal from the Stormont executive, he said Mr Trimble's ban was "untenable" and is seeking a meeting with the first minister.

A spokesman for Mr Trimble has said Sinn Fein's request for a meeting is being considered, but no time has been arranged.

Meanwhile, the deputy first minister has attacked the Ulster Unionist ban, claiming it is "illogical and damaging".

Important work

"I want to reiterate my serious concern that ministers, who are fully participating in government as of right, are still not nominated to participate in the north-south ministerial council (NSMC) despite my clear and unequivocal actions to secure this objective," said Mr Mallon.

"We have embarked on an inclusive government that requires all of us to show mutual respect.

"Nominations to the NSMC should be regularised immediately and unconditionally so that the NSMC can resume its important work in all areas, especially those of health and education. "

Last month a Sinn Fein delegation lobbied the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, to use his powers to have sanctions on party ministers removed.

The ban was has already been deemed unlawful by a High Court judge in January, in a move seen by republicans as a victory.

But the Ulster Unionist leader has vowed to press ahead with the sanctions and is appealing the court's decision.

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See also:

05 Apr 01 | Northern Ireland
Reid denies 'precondition' suggestion
10 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Trimble threatens further sanctions
25 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
IRA guns 'still expected by June'
10 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Adams warning over arms issue
14 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
IRA meets arms body
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