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Unlikely unionists will ever trust Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams revealed an unbelievable naivety in relation to plans to extend the hand of friendship to unionists in his Wolf Tone speech at Bodenstown.

He stated: "Let me be clear. Sinn Fein will continue to stretch out the hand of friendship to our unionist neighbours. We will uphold everyone's civil and religious rights."

It seems that it is just a matter of him continuing to hold out the hand of friendship and unionists must grasp this hand for some unknown reason.

Naivety enters the speech when he fails to understand the impact of IRA violence on unionists over the course of the Troubles. They weren't upholding civil and religious rights then and there is little reason for any unionist to take him at his word now.

This was always the SDLP's most precious argument during the Troubles – that violence would only deepen division in society and render Irish unity unachievable.

It was really only in the late 1980s that Sinn Fein began to accept John Hume's arguments about achieving unity of Protestants and Catholics through negotiation and agreement.

However, natural unionist distrust of Gerry Adams – and of Sinn Fein – will look to those irrational years when the only rationale was hatred of them and many must wonder why they should ever trust anything Gerry Adams says this side of a fulsome repentance.

JOHN O'CONNELL

Derry

Belfast Telegraph

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