Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 13:11 UK

Gerry Adams on Talkback


Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been answering questions posed by listeners on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback.


We covered the interview as it happened on Tuesday 4 May. You can read the transcript below.

This was the seventh and final in our series of Talkback phone-ins in the run-up to the election. You can read the others by clicking the links on this page.


1300 That's it for now... Two days to go and you can get live coverage of the election results as they are announced right through Thursday night

1259 Caller Andy raises the fact that some people in the Republic don't want a united Ireland, and how would we pay for it anyway? Mr Adams says many things would be possible in a new Ireland.

1258 A texter asks about funding the Irish language. Mr Adams says the delivery of grant money is well advanced and his party are still pursuing an Irish language Act.

1256 Wendy gets onto trust, expenses, and other issues in Mr Adams' past, specifically the sex abuse allegations surrounding his brother, Liam. He says the party was exonerated on expenses, he says this campaign has been good for him as a human being because he has got so much sympathy about the abuse that happened in his family.

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1251 The IRA question: A texter asks why should anyone vote for Mr Adams when he won't tell the truth about being a member of the IRA? Another asks why did MI5 fly him from Long Kesh to London in 1972 if he wasn't? Mr Adams replies "I am not in the IRA. I have never been in the IRA".

1247He says some dissidents may be sincere old school militarists while others "don't have a political thought in their heads." His key point is they have no popular support.

1245 Onto the dissident threat, what is Mr Adams telling people to do about them. He says if people have information they "should bring it forward". He notes none of the dissident groups are standing in this election. He attacks them in a familiar way for lack of strategy and using violence when there are other ways.

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1243 Sean in Dungannon on the messageboard says: "If Gerry Adams was serious about keeping Fermanagh and South Tyrone nationalist - why did they not agree to have a unity candidate non-aligned to any political party?" Mr Adams said such a plan was never put to him.

1241 Mr Adams says his party voted against extending the 1967 Act to NI, he is against abortion but he doesn't want women to be criminalised. Mr Adams seems to suggest Alicia is a zealot. She is quoting from the SF manifesto on "international planned parenthood."

1240 Alicia, a Catholic mother of ten, wants to know Mr Adams' view on abortion. He says Sinn Fein are against abortion as a means of birth control, but are for contraception education. He says abortion is sometimes needed when mothers are at risk.

Wendy Austin
1236 Wendy continues on the education theme; why have SF failed to sell their education reforms? Mr Adams says that isn't the case, he has sympathy for children who are still having to takes tests at 11 but he points the finger at the Grammar schools and the DUP.

1233 Stephen calls to raise the 11-plus. he says SF removes choice through the abolition of the 11-plus. Mr Adams says NI was the only part of western Europe that tested children at 11. He says the worst attainment level in education is young Protestant boys, who will come out of school with lack of literacy and numeracy. Wendy raises the point that Mr Adams himself went to a grammar school.

Gerry Adams
1229 Wendy asks about Alex Maskey standing down in South Belfast - opportunism? Mr Adams says, no, and he's "got it in the neck" from south Belfast republicans over the move. He says he can see "a little flux" in local politics and hopes people we think long and hard about their votes. He says the unionist parties are abandoning their constituents and don't care about equality.

1227 Mr Adams takes Patricia's question as an opportunity to attack the SDLP saying they are at "sixes and sevens" on the issue. He describes the unionist pact in Fermanagh South Tyrone as "Orangemen ganging up."

1226 Patricia rings to ask: "Is the logic of electoral pacts wrong or is it like double jobbing... if everyone else is doing it do you have to do it?"

Gerry Adams
1225 Wendy questions the Stormont attendance record again - "I was their for every vote my party felt I was needed to be their for." He says other parties exaggerate their influence and attendance at Westminster

1222 Mr Adams says time can be more usefully spent in NI, working in "more accountable" institutions.

1222 "We can be a little province of England or a part of the historic island of Ireland working out our own differences," he says.

1221 Wendy asks about Mr Adams voting record at Stormont. He says he's there for the votes that matter.


1218 Caller Eric, a Labour Party member, brings up the issue of absenteeism and asks: "If Sinn Fein could could take their seats without taking an oath of an allegiance would they?" No, says Mr Adams, as a matter of principle. Mr Adams says unionist parties have some of the worst attendance records, and at least Sinn Fein don't go on principle. He wonders if SDLP MPs cross their fingers behind their backs when they swear the oath.

1216 Wendy highlights that the SF manifesto calls for an end to the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Mr Adams says it is used viciously against Republicans and is mostly staffed by former RUC Special Branch men. Mr Adams says, "their war isn't over". He mentions the case of Sean Hughes .

1213 Bobby calls to asks Mr Adams' stance to on the pursuit of people who committed conflict-related crimes before the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Adams says he wants a comprehensive programme of truth recovery but if families want people to go before the courts that should be respected. Bobby probes further... he asks if there was a de facto amnesty put in place. Mr Adams says he's not aware of one.

1211 "We are a small land mass with two competing currencies and we would like to see a single currency on the island," he says, adding that it makes more sense to have it under euro than sterling.

1211 Wendy says Mr Adams' economic policies were rejected by economists and the electorate in the Republic. He says subsequent events have proved him right and that the economic orthodoxy in the Republic created a mess.

1211 Wendy probes further on SF economic policies and how they would work in a time of austerity. "What we would like to do is bring the focus and vision and strategic concentration that SF has brought to the peace process to the economy", he says

Wendy Austin
1209 Wendy asks how Sinn Fein can achieve what they want to do if cuts come? Mr Adams says the economy here is too small, in an artificial region which is on the periphery of the British treasury. Mr Adams would like fiscal powers, tax raising and tax creating powers, and the harmonisation of corporation tax.

1206 And we're off... First up, Wendy asks Mr Adams to set out his stall. He says it's about building the peace, building equality, building the economy and of course, Irish unity.

1201 Questions coming in via email include ones about abstentionism and education.

Gerry Adams
1150 So it's the seventh and final election phone-in on Talkback. We've been covering all of them live on the BBC news website - as you surely know by now - but in case you missed them, in the top right-hand corner of this page there are links to transcripts of the other five discussions. What is there to ask Gerry Adams? Have a read of our latest profile of the veteran Sinn Fein president but don't get too sidetracked as we need you back here at 1203ish.




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