Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein bears Queen no ill will, says Gerry Adams

By Suzanne Breen

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said he wishes no harm to the Queen, after vowing none of his party's seven MPs will swear an oath to her.

The veteran republican made his comments three decades after justifying the murder of the Queen's second cousin Lord Mountbatten as "an execution".

Lord Mountbatten was killed along with his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull (14) and local boat boy Paul Maxwell (15) on a fishing trip off the coast of Co Sligo after the IRA planted a bomb on their boat in August 1979.

Lady Brabourne (83) later died from her injuries.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street yesterday after leading a Sinn Fein delegation to meet Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Adams made an oblique reference to the Queen's safety using the Ulster vernacular.

He stated his party will not take its seats in Westminster or swear an oath to the Queen, adding: "No harm to her".

Mr Adams, known for his often bizarre remarks on social media, went on to accuse Mrs May of playing "fast and loose" with the Good Friday Agreement.

"Any deal that undermines the Good Friday Agreement will be opposed by Sinn Fein and, we would hope, the Irish government.

"If the institutions are to be put in place they need to be sustainable, viable and properly resourced," he said.

Mrs May last night pledged that any deal she reaches with the DUP won't harm talks to restore power-sharing at Stormont as the Tories continued negotiations that are expected to see the DUP support a Conservative minority government next week.

DUP deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, insisted that there is no deadline for a deal between the two parties despite the Queen's Speech, in which the government will set out its priorities, being due on Wednesday.

Mr Dodds claimed that the speech was "not relevant" to the discussions and he refused to "get into timetables and deadlines". However, government sources have predicted that a deal will be finalised early next week.

As well as meeting the DUP, Mrs May yesterday met Northern Ireland's other four main parties to reassure them that any agreement she reached with Arlene Foster wouldn't impact on her government's role in talks to restore devolution.

However, most of the parties remained sceptical of the government's ability to act impartially if it's in a pact with the DUP.

Mrs May last night repeated that the end of the month deadline for a Stormont deal was fast approaching.

"Speaking with the parties, it was clear that real progress was made in the last round of discussions and agreement can be reached if there is goodwill on all sides.

"But time is running short and the parties must come together by June 29 for the return of a strong voice at Stormont and for a brighter future for everyone in Northern Ireland.

"My government remains absolutely committed to doing everything we can to help take this process to a successful conclusion, remaining steadfast to our commitments in the Belfast Agreement and its successors."

SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood said the Prime Minister hadn't convinced him that the "DUP tail is not wagging the Tory dog", adding: "We were very clear that it can't be a deal that gives the DUP power over the Tory party. It can't be a deal that affects and infects the talks process."

Alliance leader Naomi Long said that while Mrs May gave assurances, "actions speak louder than words".

"I will judge the government fairly on its actions," she said.

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