Belfast Telegraph

Adams sorry over offensive language

Gerry Adams has apologised after using offensive language at a public meeting but insisted he was not referring to unionists.

The Sinn Fein president used the term "bastards" while answering a question at a gathering in Northern Ireland but said it was aimed at bigots.

He has come under fire from the Democratic and Ulster Unionists who interpreted the remark as being directed at them.

Mr Adams tweeted: "I shudn't call bigots, racists or homophobes bastards. Mea culpa.

"But equality IS the only way 2 break them. & education & end 2 sectarianism."

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has criticised the DUP after a senior member poked fun at the Irish language amid sensitive peace process legacy negotiations.

Mr Adams was apparently answering a question about his party's relationship with its power-sharing partners during a meeting in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

He said he was often asked by republicans "what's the point?"

"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 bastards - 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 is to rejoin the people on the basis of equality."

Audio of the dialogue was tweeted by Impartial Reporter journalist Rodney Edwards.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are the largest members of a coalition in power at Stormont.

The five main parties in Northern Ireland are engaged in negotiations about dealing with the violent legacy of the past, contentious parades and flags.

Republicans have been angered by comments made by veteran Democratic Unionist Gregory Campbell in which he poked fun at the Irish language and said the party would treat Sinn Fein's entire "wish list" - including an Irish language act - as no more than toilet paper.

He received a death threat earlier this week.

Senior DUP Stormont assembly member Arlene Foster said: "Respect is a two-way street. The hyperbole from republicans over recent days has been exposed as hypocrisy."

Ms Foster said Mr Adams' comments about the issue of equality being a Trojan horse, a gift designed to deceive, were revealing.

"Last night we heard from him in relation to equality. The mask has slipped and I am glad it has slipped because people can see exactly what Sinn Fein are at.

"It is very clear that the DUP are frustrating him in a way that has made him make these comments. We are very focused on what we want to get out of these talks - we want a more effective and efficient Stormont.

"We will continue to speak up for unionism, regardless of how frustrated Gerry Adams may get."

Sinn Fein culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin told the assembly equality was for everyone.

"It is for all the children of this nation, not just Catholic or Protestant, or unionist or republican.

"It is for us all and that is something I do and continue to do and make no apology for it."

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