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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 20:35 GMT
Adams urges devolution decision
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams has held talks with Tony Blair
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has called for a decision to be made on the future of devolution in Northern Ireland.

He said it was a "defining point" in the political process, but that the current talks could go no further.

Mr Adams was addressing a Sinn Fein selection convention in Navan, County Meath, on Wednesday.

"As far as we are concerned we have made our final representations on the governments' text," he said.

"We look to both governments to make sure that it is in line with their own stated position, that it upholds the fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement."

He said the discussion of the issues had been "detailed, thorough and exhaustive".

"In my opinion these discussions can go no further - it is now time for a decision," he said.

The comments come amid a growing expectation that a deal could be reached next week.


Northern Ireland's political institutions have been suspended since October 2002 amid claims of IRA intelligence-gathering at the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr Adams earlier led a party delegation to meet Tony Blair in London.

Afterwards, he told reporters in Downing Street that the issue of IRA arms could be dealt with to the "satisfaction of all responsible people in the context of comprehensive agreement".

He also urged DUP leader Ian Paisley to "join in the collective challenge of peace-making".

Mr Adams again signalled the displeasure of republicans at the tone of recent comments made by Mr Paisley.

He had called for the IRA to repent and wear "sackcloth and ashes".

"A deal is still possible... but an accommodation, a partnership of equals cannot be built through a process of humiliation," Mr Adams


"Our focus is in achieving that deal. It will only be possible, however, in the days ahead in the terms of the Good Friday Agreement."

Ian Paisley
Mr Paisley said a deal was "now or never"

Meanwhile, the Alliance Party has also met the prime minister at Downing Street.

Afterwards, party leader David Ford said: "All the pieces for an historic deal to end paramilitary activity and to restore devolution are now in place.

"The package is clearly in line with the fundamental principles of the Agreement.

"Over the next few days it is important that both the DUP and Sinn Fein demonstrate their good faith intentions to one another, and that unionists focus on the very real substance that is on offer."

It is understood some of its suggestions for changes to the Stormont rules have been adopted by the government in their latest proposals.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said: "Nailing down the details of any deal is still proving time consuming work - last night, the Sinn Fein president expressed concern about what he sees as the stretching time frame of the talks.

"With Ian Paisley expected to see Tony Blair on Friday, a deal is not now expected this week. But government officials remain hopeful an agreement can be unveiled early next week."

Mr Paisley met the prime minister on Tuesday to discuss his party's response to British-Irish proposals designed to break the political impasse.

The current negotiations are being conducted through a series of British and Irish government intermediaries because the DUP refuses to hold face-to-face talks with Sinn Fein.

Gerry Adams on the peace process






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