Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams denies calling all unionists b*****ds: 'I was talking about bigots'

“The full transcript of my remarks will show very, very clearly that I wasn’t talking about unionists. I was talking about bigots."

By Amanda Ferguson

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has denied calling all unionists b*****ds at a public meeting in Co Fermanagh but apologised for his language.

>>Scroll down to hear the recording<<

“I was talking about bigots,” he told the BBC Talkback radio programme this afternoon.

On Monday night Mr Adams, a Louth TD, told a public meeting in Enniskillen when he visits Belfast republicans and nationalists asked him to explain the point of working with the DUP, following controversial comments such as East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell’s recent ‘curry my yoghurt’ remarks mocking the Irish language.

A short audio recording of the meeting was then posted on Twitter by Impartial Reporter journalist Rodney Edwards.

The recording details Mr Adams saying: “It was universal people saying ‘what’s the point?’, ‘what’s the point?’.

“And they weren’t blaming Sinn Fein — in fact they were making the point that Sinn Fein were doing their best.

“But what’s the point?

“The point is to actually break these ba***rds - that’s the point.

“And what’s going to break them is equality.

“That’s what’s going to break them - equality.

“Who could be afraid of equality?

“Who could be afraid of treating somebody the way you want to be treated.

“That’s what we need to keep the focus on - that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy.”

DUP and UUP politicians rounded on the Sinn Fein leader, accusing him of insulting all unionists.

But speaking from Dublin today Mr Adams denied this was the case.

He told Talkback: “I am sorry for using the b word and I don’t mean bigot, I mean the other word that was inappropriate, and people would be offended by it. 

“The full transcript of my remarks will show very, very clearly that I wasn’t talking about unionists.

“I was talking about bigots.

“I was responding to a question which was about what’s the points in republicans trying to do business when there is a cadre...who clearly are against the type of changes that are contained in the various agreements that political parties have signed up for.

“So, to put my remarks into context if, and Rodney Edwards in his written summation of what I said is very fair, it is very clear I am talking about bigots and I make no apology for that.

“The fact is there are bigots, there are racists, there are homophobic people and misogynists out there and we have to face up to them.

“I used the wrong term.

“It was an unscripted remark it was in the cut and thrust of a question and answer discussion and a very, very good public meeting.

“It is also my view that some of those who are bigots within unionism are, and lets be clear about this, unionism has no monopoly on bigotry, but that they are putting off their own traditional voters.

“There is an increasing number of people who aren’t voting because they don’t have anyone within unionism giving the consistent positive leadership that is required in these times.

“And then I asked...who could be afraid of equality?

“Are we against treating someone the way you would want to be treated yourself?”

Mr Adams use of the phrase ‘Trojan horse’ has generated accusations of political trickery and subterfuge from Sinn Fein when they discuss equality, but he denied this was the case.

However, Mr Adams acknowledged as well as it being inappropriate for him to use the word ‘b*****ds’ it may also have been inappropriate for him to use ‘Trojan horse’ if deception was inferred.

On whether he regretted using the Greek mythology reference he said: “Well, yes and no, because Sinn Fein have been consistent for equality, fraternity, freedom are the core values and principles of Irish republicanism and I would argue we..system that is truly citizen centred and rights based.

“So, equality in its own is a right and then equality as a means to an end because people are officially divided on this island by partition.”

He added: “There was a sense within the question about ‘what’s the point?’ and what the point is that no matter about those who hark back to the old days, not matter about those who have formed an anti-Agreement axis, who use very offensive, premeditated rehearsed offensive remarks and who put their face against normal modes of behaviour, that equality has to be pressed home at all points.”

The Sinn Fein President acknowledged BBC presenter William Crawley’s point that he had made a ‘political gaffe’, adding he might have "made a hames" with his comments.

“We all make mistakes,” he said.

“I have never been remiss at all about owning up to mistakes I have made.”

Mr Adams refused to be drawn on who he had in mind when he made his controversial comments.

“I am using the broad brush to describe that cohort on the one hand who are out and out bigots,” he said.

“I think sectarianism remains a great scourge of our society and must be tackled.

"I think we need proper incitement to hatred legislation, which is properly enforced.

"Bigotry is something that has to be faced up to.

"It is something that has to be challenged in a smarter way than I did it last night.

"It has to be eradicated or at least made illegal.

"Everyone can make their own judgement on who is for equality."

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