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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
What do you think of Sinn Fein's IRA appeal?
Gerry Adams
The IRA has responded to Gerry Adams' plea by saying it will give "due consideration" to ending the armed struggle.

Mr Adams, whose statement came on the first full day of election campaigning in Northern Ireland, asked members to "fully embrace and accept" democratic means.

However, DUP leader Ian Paisley said that Sinn Fein had put themselves beyond the pale as far as the political process was concerned.

SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell said the public see that a vote for Sinn Fein "gives the IRA no incentive to clean up its act" and are sceptical of any promises of progress.

What do you think of Sinn Fein's appeal to the IRA? What do you think of the IRA's response? Do you think it will have any effect on the peace process? Send us your views.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Nice words, just in time for the election.
Robin, Cambridge, UK

If the IRA take it seriously then this could be a big step forward but true peace is still a long way off.
Sam Resyom, England

Can someone please correct me if I am wrong. But did the IRA not promise to go down the road of peace eight years ago when they signed up to the Good Friday Agreement?
Scott, Londonderry

I have pretty much lost any hope in real peace
Sean, UK
What really aggravates me is that the Rev Paisley has already stated that no matter what the result, he will not sit at any table with republicans. I have pretty much lost any hope in real peace; each side will never budge on their ultimate objectives. It seems the only thing to do is wait for a new generation of leaders who are not so blinded by hate and bigotry.
Sean, UK

Sinn Fein / IRA is disgraceful. Who are they kidding? You cannot have both arms and political party in government. Government run by a band of thugs, murderers, criminals and robbers. Where is law and order? It is make up your mind time. They have to choose which one to move forward.
Mary King, Dover, UK

If ever there was to be peace in Northern Ireland, this speech had to come. Whether you believe Gerry Adams or not, Sinn Fein needed to call the IRA to disarm. If the IRA ignores Sinn Fein, there will be no lasting peace. And a run up to the General Election is the best time to do it when the stakes are at their highest. We can only wait and watch.
John, Basingstoke, Hampshire

It's not what Gerry Adams says in the run up to an election that counts. It's what he says afterwards no matter what the result is.
Michael, Lincoln

It's about time that Adams realised that change will come through ballots, not bullets
Joseph Roach, Newark, DE USA
It's about time that Adams realised that change will come through ballots, not bullets. Let's hope the IRA listens to Adams, and disbands.
Joseph Roach, Newark, DE USA

It has become very difficult to believe anything that these politicians say. Nevertheless, it is a happy circumstance that while they are pretending to seek a generally acceptable peace we actually have a peace of sorts. May they just keep on talking!
J Westerman, Leeds. UK

I think Mr Adams has come close to this before. It is interesting to observe that these statements are made every once in a while when Sinn Fein or the IRA appears to be in political trouble. Previous examples would be the Stormont IRA spying ring and the McCartney murder. When will we stop giving credence to these empty gestures which are nothing more than an attempt to cynically manipulate public opinion?
Michael Gaughan, Belfast UK

Gerry Adams has recognised that the situation in the six counties will not be changed through armed force. Why now does Tony Blair not realise this as well, pull British troops out and assuage nationalist fears over policing by implementing ALL of the recommendations put forward in the Patten report?
Denis Kelly, London, England

Even if the IRA does disband there will be another terrorist group anyway.
Fintan Horan-Stear, Brighton, England

Its a sad state of affairs when a statement like this is greeted with pure cynicism and not optimism
Brendan, Northern Ireland
I am amazed at all the comments from people from outside Northern Ireland. How many of you are from here and what do you actually know about what is going on? People go on and on about Sinn Fein stepping forward and when they actually do they get criticised. The Unionists had the chance in December to put an end to this, before the Northern Bank, before Mr McCartney, but they turned it down. Why? Because they wanted some photos? Rubbish. Its a sad state of affairs when a statement like this is greeted with pure cynicism and not optimism.
Brendan, Northern Ireland

In my opinion Gerry Adams deserves a chance to make efforts towards peace process this time as a part of democratic process of elections
Mohan Sharma, Bedford UK

It's all political double speak. Mr Adams is just trying to secure the Catholic vote. He knows the IRA will never disarm.
Stewart Wilson, Surrey, BC, Canada

Why does Sinn Fein always talk of the "struggle" for a united Ireland? Surely in this day and age the word should rather be "campaign"? To keep on about a struggle suggest that SF just cannot leave the past behind.
Peter Stobart, London England

The only reason that the Republic of Ireland leaders have joined in with the English leaders in condemning the IRA and Sinn Fein is a cynical attempt to demonize Sinn Fein because they fear their growing popularity in the southern state. The attempt to demonize Sinn Fein is pure politics by all the parties involved.
Sean, Winnipeg Canada

Using peaceful means to achieve a truly united Ireland is, of course, the best path. However, giving up arms is quite another. We can't forget the past!
Luise Rechen, Baltimore MD USA

Everyone, including Gerry knows the public image of Sinn Fein is taking a beating
Gary, Larne, Northern Ireland
Gerry has less and less friends because of republican criminality - even Ted Kennedy won't meet him. The IRA is still terrorising people, but now it's in their communities. Everyone, including Gerry knows the public image of Sinn Fein is taking a beating. He genuinely is in a right pickle. He had to say this even if he ended up with a fractured republican movement.
Gary, Larne, Northern Ireland

All this chatter about Northern Ireland and all of it ignores the fundamental issue: The Republicans are irrevocably committed to a united Ireland ruled from Dublin. The Protestants are irrevocably committed to preventing that very outcome. The two sides are irreconcilable.
Stephen, Australia

Does any person with any intelligence really think this is a brave step? Call me cynical but on May 5 Sinn Fein are defending four seats and statements like this are a desperate attempt for them to claim they have some form of mandate for the Catholic community. Like all Sinn Fein statements they are worded very carefully and not once were the words disband or disarm mentioned.
Russ Taylor, Sheffield, England

It's a long time passed for nationalists in Northern Ireland to embrace democratic parties like the SDLP, and stop voting for apologists for terrorist organisations. The major unionist parties are purely democratic, and so the onus is on the nationalists to abandon Sinn Fein. It's the only realistic way to restore power-sharing and convince increasingly sceptical unionists that the concessions made by the UUP were ultimately worth it.
Thomas, Denmark

I have no time for Gerry Adams or his cronies, but some of the comments that Gerry Adams makes really do make sense and he is being seen to make an effort to set the peace process in motion again. Come on Ian Paisley, it's your turn!
Steve, Pontypool, S Wales

He's really asking the IRA "to engage in a political process for peace" until after the election - that's all!
Derek Andrews, Warrnambool, Australia

It's a last throw of the dice for Adams. If he succeeds in persuading the IRA then he gets a Peace Prize and he's up there with Hume. If he fails he's nothing more than another Cathal Goulding. I sincerely hope for the former, but I have my doubts.
Big D, Monaghan

Voters should concentrate on their past actions rather than current promises
Trevor, UK
A simple pre-election ruse to attempt to reclaim some of the voters lost to Sinn Fein as a result of the McCartney debacle. Adams and Blair are two of a kind, short-term opportunists whose only interest is remaining in power; neither are to be trusted to deliver on promises made during the pre-election period as history amply demonstrates; voters should concentrate on their past actions rather than current promises which will only spin away into oblivion after the election.
Trevor, UK

What is so frustrating for people such as me who want to see this process reach a successful conclusion, is the substantial number of people who won't accept anything the republicans say or do. Then they make demands about what republicans should do. When the republicans meet those demands, lo and behold, the goalposts have moved again. A few weeks ago people were saying they wanted the republican movement to renounce violence, and embrace fully democratic means. Now this is on the cards, it's not enough.
Danny Callaghan, London

This is the most blatant piece of cynical, two-faced electioneering I have ever seen. Finally the world (especially the USA) is waking up to what Sinn Fein / IRA really means, and the panic in their leadership is obvious.
Rob, UK

Real action? So ten years of ceasefire is nothing?
Ollie, Leeds, UK

Let's wait and see if his words turn to actions and then pass judgement
Patrick, The Netherlands
Castigating Sinn Fein and calling Gerry Adams a liar on this forum and in the general media of late does nothing for anyone living in Northern Ireland, as far as the peace process is concerned. Let's wait and see if his words turn to actions and then pass judgement, as the voters will through the ballot box.
Patrick, The Netherlands

Times may change, but the rhetoric from the reactionary men of violence rattles on. It is a cause for great regret on all sides that, despite the repressive violence of the 1960s, the internment of the 1970s and 1980s and the (in my opinion) failed peace process of the 1990s, more empty words and broken promises are uttered in the 21st century. If even the Irish government now has no qualms about distancing itself from Sinn Fein, then surely the time has come after half a century or more for Sinn Fein to ditch the IRA?
Roger Bennett, Farnborough, UK

I come from a background of both Catholic and Protestant and can see both sides of the "argument". As a species, we find excuses to kill each other; from Rwanda to the Gulf. History dictates there will never be an end to man's inhumanity to man. I just wish all people could see that they hate each other for no reason. Unfortunately Utopia does not exist.
Ciaran Jefferies, Swindon, UK

Considering the links that exist between the IRA and Sinn Fein, I think the attempt to get the IRA to join the political process will not fall on deaf ears and will help the moves towards a permanent peace. The Republic of Ireland is an example of how parties which embraced violence many decades ago now would not ever contemplate violence to achieve political ends. A similar process is underway in Northern Ireland.
Arthur, UK

This appears to be a very one sided argument at the moment, organisations on both side have always engaged in criminality to fund their activities and many have made their living from this. Although the peace process has effectively meant that the original reasons for their actions have largely ceased to exist, their need for a living and desire to support their accustomed income have not. This appears however to go beyond most of the UK mainland's understanding of the situation.
Moray Stewart, Slough

Mr Adams should be applauded for finally grasping the nettle
Jon, Leeds, UK
Mr Adams should be applauded for finally grasping the nettle even though it looks like Mr McCartney's death had something to do with this.
Jon, Leeds, UK

Gerry Adams has brought Sinn Fein and democratic decision making and conflict resolution thus far in the North, as well as in the Republic. Now is the time for the actuality of the final decommissioning of IRA weapons as proof of the nationalist and Republican community's intent to live in a non-violent and peaceful Ireland.
Virginia Davis, Portland, USA

The change in Gerry Adams is yet another cynical move at Election Time. My wife and I were in the USA during the debates between President Bush and Senator Kerry and we found it hard to understand how dishonest Bush would be to get back in power. I believe that we will see the same sort of thing happening in the UK. Yet further evidence of the falling standards we now have in the West as a whole.
Roger, Warwickshire, UK

It's a joke, a charade. Adams has in effect told us that he is seriously considering handing in his weapons and bombs. Why do we allow him to persist in claiming that the IRA and Sinn Fein are separate organisations?
Bob Todd, Darlington, England

Until there is complete disarmament by everyone there will never be peace
Louise, Luton
Until there is complete disarmament by everyone there will never be peace - not just in NI but anywhere.
Louise, Luton

It's nothing more than a desperate attempt to be accepted in mainstream politics following the recent criminal activity of the IRA. Adams knows Sinn Fein has lost all credibility - this is just a cynical attempt to regain it. Would he have made this call if the recent activity had not been so embarrassing for his cause? Somehow, I doubt it.
Roger Snape, Southampton

It's a step in the right direction also he isn't hindering any progress by appealing to the IRA. Let's face it they are more likely to listen to him than anybody.
Kevin Humphreys, Liverpool

A General Election looms and Gerry Adams decides he is a man of peace. Well, well. There must be a God in Heaven. Either that or Mr Adams has been getting to together with Sinn Fein's election strategists.
Patrick Powell, Cornwall

I am somewhat sceptical that the Provisional IRA will fully disband
Ryan, Durham, UK
I am somewhat sceptical that the Provisional IRA will fully disband. After the election, Sinn Fein could go back on their calls for the IRA to disband, and try to put the blame on the stalled peace process on someone else.
Ryan, Durham, UK

Sinn Fein pleads with the IRA to accept democracy. Does anyone else think this has more to do with the St Patrick's Day snubbing in America than any really meaningful attempt to reign in their personal army?
Robbie, Aberdeen

The only way forward for Sinn Fein would appear to be a total change in leadership. Adams and McGuinness will always be seen as associated with terrorism and the DUP will continue to claim the moral high ground and refuse (whatever the current excuse) to work with them.
Jake S, UK

What is Gerry Adams asking the IRA to do? We hear "alternative" and "defining moment", but is he asking them to disband or not?
Paul, Germany

Surely it must be time for real action towards a lasting peace for everyone
Bren, Dublin
As a young person, I have been hearing talk about "progress" all my life, but have seen very little. Surely it must be time for real action towards a lasting peace for everyone.
Bren, Dublin, Ireland

I agree that it is action we need to see as opposed to words from Sinn Fein. The people from Northern Ireland deserve better than having to listen to some of the diatribe that comes out of the words of politicians on both side of the divide here. My dream would be for all paramilitaries to disarm and disband and for all politicians including the DUP and Sinn Fein to show maturity and work together despite their differences of opinion.
Denise, Belfast Northern, Ireland

I used to have respect for Mr. Adams. Now, however, he simply comes across as a total hypocrite, peddling an intellectually bankrupt political philosophy. Does he really think for one moment that anyone with an ounce of intelligence believes a single word that he says?
Jim, London, UK

This is bad news for Paisley. If Sinn Fein and the IRA manage to eliminate the republican weapons issue, He's going to have to come up with some new way to stall a process which he himself signed up to.
Bernard Fitzsimons, Huddersfield, UK

Violence has no place in a democratic country
Peter Jamieson
Violence has no place in a democratic country. Wherever you are, if you think the IRA, or any violent organisation supported by any "Unionist" force, has any part to play in the future of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, or any future reconfiguration of the two, you really must be a very naive or stupid person. Would you accept such violence where you live? If so, why? And how could it be resolved?
Peter Jamieson

The IRA have become Irelands mafia, they will never disarm and mealy-mouthed Adams knows it.
Brian Spooner, Gent, Belgium

Nothing more than cynical and political opportunism motivated by the forthcoming election.
Chris Clarke, Surrey

Sadly Sinn Fein and the IRA are staring defeat in the face. They will never achieve a united Ireland by the bullet or the ballot box and they are now confronted with a Unionist majority that is prefers Ian Paisley over moderate Unionist opinion. The current situation must be a disaster for them and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there aren't splits in the republican movement.
Richard , United Kingdom

Once again all the positive pro agreement words coming from republicans whilst the DUP remains intransigent. Surely it's Paisleys turn to be vilified.
David Rees, Nyon, Switzerland

More insincere hypocritical nonsense from Gerry Adams aimed at the election campaign.
Alex, Limerick Ireland

As other contributors have stated, until the IRA hands in its weapons and explosives, and until Sinn Fein completely disowns the IRA, severs all connections with it and fully supports the PSNI, including handing over all criminals wanted by the police, then no one should believe a word Adams says.
Peter Larrad, Manchester, England

Does he honestly think we are stupid enough to believe this is sincere?
Andrew Hall, Worcester, England
Who is he fooling? Does he honestly think we are stupid enough to believe this is sincere?
Andrew Hall, Worcester, England

I think it's a great step forward, not that I agree with everything SF say or do. I just hope that loyalist & unionist parties have the same courage that SF have shown. Let us not forget there are problems on the other side of the fence as well. I hope SF can achieve what they are trying to. It would be happier times for everyone especially the youth today.
Sid, Belfast Ireland

A welcome and brave statement from Gerry Adams. Urging the IRA to engage in a political process is however, the only sensible option left for Mr Adams. May I personally urge ALL involved in the Northern Ireland peace process - JUST GET ON WITH IT!
Ian, Belfast

Progress but, as ever, Adams really just sits on the fence, afraid to go the extra mile for fear of causing a split on his own side. No matter what the circumstances, terrorism was, is, and always will be wrong for all of us who embrace democracy. You might disagree with many of the Pope's views but he will go down in history as a man who was not afraid to go the extra mile. Sadly Adams does not have any such courage and it is a crying shame.
Martin, Dublin, Ireland

Adams appears to have staked a lot by proposing this in such a public way
James Scobbie, Scotland
Adams appears to have staked a lot by proposing this in such a public way. Its a pity we don't see many other Northern Irish politicians also calling for their related paramilitaries to give up the threat and fear of violence.
James Scobbie, Scotland

It obviously takes a cold shoulder from their American supporters to drag the Irish republicans away from their precious weapons. But whatever the reason, lets hope this belated move towards "entirely peaceful means" is more than just cynical pre-election political rhetoric.
Paul Holden, UK

Sounds like too little, too late to me. The killers of Robert McCartney still haven't come forward, and they make this announcement on the day after the election is announced! Clutching at straws it seems to me!
Matt Morris, Bristol, UK

If the IRA gave up all of their armoury tomorrow, the unionists would find something else to stall the peace process.
Gerry, Glasgow, Scotland

Leaving aside the quips about Adams appealing to himself, is this just electioneering? Does anyone believe that a vote for Sinn Fein will be a vote to disband the IRA?
Austin Lane, Belgium

They are more likely to listen to him than anybody
Kevin Humphreys, Liverpool England
It's a step in the right direction also he isn't hindering any progress by appealing to the IRA. Let's face it they are more likely to listen to him than anybody.
Kevin Humphreys, Liverpool England

It's a big ask Adams is making of the IRA. What's more, he's doing so from a position of weakness. If the Republican movement could have kept its nose clean until after a successful election then a proactive appeal from Adams would have stood a better chance of compliance. As it is, there will be a perception that he is bowing to pressure from unionists, from Brits, and from the 26 county-ists in Dublin. This makes it a high stakes gamble for Adams' political career.
Duncan, Edinburgh, UK

Northern Ireland is lucky to have Gerry Adams. Unless Adams and those involved with the IRA are encouraged to live in peace, another generation will rise to bloodily complete the work of this republican generation. History tells us that this is fact rather than prediction. It is evident that politicians of all parties see this as the way forward and they too, if Adams succeeds, deserve much credit as do the poor old British, who for 30 years held the fort through thick and thin with a philosophical resignation which defies imagination.
Tom, London UK

This looks promising as Adams does not usually speak out unless he thinks he can deliver. Clearly the reaction to the bank robbery and murder have forced the issue. Perhaps the IRA will split and Adams will claim the war is finally over. I doubt that the gangsters will continue to operate.
John Meek, Wallasey, England

The shining courage of the McCartney sisters reasserted the voice of a decent society
Fin Keegan, Las Vegas, United States
The IRA bungled the de facto mandate given them by the republican community when civil rights were denied to Catholics in the late 1960s. Rather than defend their people though, the IRA succumbed to a harebrained ideological dream, which quickly devolved into death worship and, more recently, a brutal criminality. The shining courage of the McCartney sisters reasserted the voice of a decent society too long silenced by shame, fear, and grief. Adams' statement may mean, at last, an end to the nightmare.
Fin Keegan, Las Vegas, United States

Who are Sinn Fein trying to kid? When the IRA said they would murder people to try and justify ends, then they really lost all the respect of the common person. If Sinn Fein want to help themselves, then they must clarify their position with respect to the IRA. Either back the IRA and try and reform or disassociate yourselves from the IRA. Publicly state you have nothing to do with them.
Max, UK

Given the IRA's track record of violence against anyone who stands in their way, I'd say there is no chance that they will ever lay down their weapons and go about their business in a peaceful way. Even their sponsors in the USA are beginning to see that.
Peter, Helensburgh, UK

This could be great news if it actually happens.
Colin, Kent, UK

Adams knows Sinn Fein has lost all credibility - this is just a cynical attempt to regain it
Roger Snape, Southampton
It's nothing more than a desperate attempt to be accepted in mainstream politics following the recent criminal activity of the IRA. Adams knows Sinn Fein has lost all credibility - this is just a cynical attempt to regain it. Would he have made this call if the recent activity had not been so embarrassing for his cause? Somehow, I doubt it.
Roger Snape, Southampton

Leopards never change their spots. In the same way the staunch IRA members are committed to an arms struggle and no amount of cajoling by Gerry Adams is going to change their evil ways. Adams may have reformed himself and realized that the only way forward is by embracing democratic means. Hopefully this will strike a resonant chord. However the signs do not seem to be promising at all. Surely nobody in their right minds would want to go back to the days of bombings, bloodshed and violence!
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

Does this mean that Sinn Fein is now saying that the IRA is not an acceptable policing force for republican communities? Where is the call to disarm and disband? Where is the call to support the Police Service as the proper force against crime? Much as I dislike the DUP scepticism, I must agree that words are not enough. This is Sinn Fein doing what they do best: spin and PR, not real commitment to peace.
Richard, Coleraine, N.Ireland

Active terrorism is a result of a certain area of society not being listened to; I am sure that Sinn Fein is serious about peace, and that any connections they have with the IRA are being used to encourage the end of terrorism forever in NI. It is interesting that during the peace process and Good Friday Agreements, the level of violence has fallen.
Steve, Suffolk, UK





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