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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 18:06 GMT
Time 'not right for IRA move'
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams said the crisis was not down to IRA
The political climate is not right at present for a significant move by the IRA, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said.

Addressing party members in Belfast, he said people should not expect the IRA to act unless there is movement from all sides.

There has been some speculation that the IRA will soon make a major move in relation to the Northern Ireland political process.

The British Government has said there is a need for significant "acts of completion" by the IRA.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
But this process is about changing all that in a way which will bring an end to all the armed groups

Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein

However, Mr Adams said the current crisis was not about the IRA.

"Does anyone think there will be a movement unless everyone moves? Unless the British Government honours its obligations?" he asked party members on Saturday.

"The current crisis in the peace process is not about the IRA. Of course the existence of the IRA is an affront to its enemies.

"But this process is about changing all that in a way which will bring an end to all the armed groups.

"Can that be achieved by ganging up on republicans, or by making movement towards basic rights conditional on movement by the IRA? Or by punishing Sinn Fein voters and other citizens if the IRA doesn't comply with unionist demands?"

'Restore devolution'

Mr Adams said unionist resistance to change had led to the current crisis in the political process as well as the British Government's unwillingness "to move effectively to deal with the problem".

"It is apparent that the British Government are pursuing a strategy whereby the survival of David Trimble as leader of the UUP is more important that the survival of the Agreement itself," he said.

The republican movement have a decision to take and they have to take that decision fairly quickly

David Trimble
UUP leader

However, Mr Trimble said it was action by republicans which was needed to end the political impasse.

Speaking on BBC's Inside Politics, he said: "The obstacle to full implementation is continued paramilitary activity."

He said there had been little progress towards resolving the crisis as the republican movement "have not had the courage to take the decisions they should have taken years ago".

"The game is up - the game of playing politics by day and other things by night is over - that has to be over, that is what has to happen, lets have no beating about the bush about this.

"The republican movement have a decision to take and they have to take that decision fairly quickly."

On Thursday, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said movement by the government on issues such as demilitarisation was not required before a wide-ranging deal to restore devolution can be achieved.

Mr McGuinness told the BBC a deal involving a move from the IRA was possible if everyone moved together.

Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair is to meet Bertie Ahern for talks in NI next week

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said there was an expectation from the United States that the republican movement had the room and capacity to move towards a bold initiative.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are to meet in Northern Ireland next week for talks that are being seen as a key part of the sequencing.

Northern Ireland's political institutions were suspended over allegations of IRA activity including intelligence gathering at Stormont.

Following the collapse of power-sharing, current legislation dictates that the British and Irish Governments must hold a review of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement on which devolution was based.

But unless some common ground can be found between the parties on how to proceed, there is no mechanism for reinstating Northern Ireland's government.

Both the British and Irish Governments have stressed that there will be no renegotiation of the Agreement.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble:
"The obstacle to full implementation is continued paramilitary activity"
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams:
"Does anyone think there will be a movement unless everyone moves? "
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

06 Feb 03 | N Ireland
11 Feb 03 | N Ireland
19 Nov 02 | N Ireland
15 Oct 02 | N Ireland
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