Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

MP's anger at Hume-Adams talks

Published 25/08/2016

A senior SDLP figure lambasted party leader John Hume over his controversial talks with Gerry Adams in the 1980s.

The comments by Eddie McGrady came in a private briefing with officials in September 1988.

Between January and August of that year, Mr Hume had held a series of secret discussions with Mr Adams.

Mr Hume believed that private dialogue with the Sinn Fein president could draw the IRA towards laying down its weapons, creating an opportunity for talks and a peace process.

The talks took place behind closed doors and amid continuing IRA violence.

A memo on the meeting said: "McGrady was clearly relieved that the SDLP/SInn Fein talks had come to an end. He made clear that he never had any faith in this exercise and had refused to be part of the SDLP team for the talks.

"In his view there had never been any prospect of persuading Sinn Fein to abandon the armed struggle.

"Sinn Fein's lack of sincerity had been demonstrated by the fact that the violence had escalated while the talks were going on."

The Hume-Adams talks became public knowledge in 1993 after a Sunday newspaper ran a story.

On April 24 the pair issued a first joint statement.

A second statement followed in September, outlining the Hume-Adams initiative which "aimed at the creation of a peace process".

Mr McGrady was a founding member of the SDLP. He was MP for South Down from 1987 until his retirement in 2010. He passed away in November 2013.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph