Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams accuses David Cameron of 'arrogance' over comments about 'seeing off the IRA'

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of “arrogance” over comments he made about “seeing off the IRA”.

Mr Adams released a statement yesterday marking the 10th anniversary of the IRA cease fire in which he insisted: “the IRA was never defeated”.

Asked today why he made the comments, Mr Adams said he was responding to Mr Cameron’s claim that the British had “seen off the IRA” when discussing the threat to the UK from Islamic terrorists.

He said Mr Cameron’s remarks “displayed an arrogance” and came at a time when the peace process was in a “perilous condition”.

In yesterday’s statement, he said: “I note the recent remarks of British Prime Minister David Cameron when he claimed that 'British resolve saw off the IRA’.

“This is a distortion of recent history. It also betrays a worrying ignorance on the part of a British Premier of the dynamics which have propelled the Irish Peace Process for many years.

“The reality is that the IRA was never defeated and that again and again it was Irish republicans, including the IRA leadership, which took bold steps to bolster the peace process and to maintain positive political momentum.

“Ten years ago this week, on 28 July, 2005, the IRA formally ended its armed campaign and gave its support to purely peaceful and democratic means of achieving republican objectives. David Cameron would do well to understand that it was such initiatives which broke the long cycle of conflict and opened up new political possibilities.

Mr Adams said the progress was made over many years is now in "severe jeopardy, not least because of the attitude of Mr Cameron" and warned political structures face collapse.

He said: “The political structures negotiated so painstakingly as part of the Good Friday Agreement face collapse as a result of the British Government's ideologically driven austerity agenda.

“By slashing hundreds of millions of pounds from the finances of the North's Executive, the British Government has attacked the ability of the political institutions to deliver for citizens. The promise of further ‘eye watering’ cuts in the autumn will further undermine the Executive's ability to provide public services and protect the most vulnerable.

The statement added that Sinn Fein wants to see the political institutions work.

“The Executive requires the resources and flexibility to deliver a peace dividend that will be felt in those communities which suffered most as a result of that conflict. This includes the resources to tackle the sectarian segregation which perpetuates division and facilitates confrontation.

Mr Adams added: “Over many decades, successive British governments invested limitless financial resources to pursue a military agenda in the North of Ireland. They now need to bring a similar commitment to building the peace”.

Speaking today, Mr Adams also claimed he was never in the IRA and said he doesn't “lose any sleep” over claims that he was a member of the organisation.

At the same press conference, former IRA gun runner Martin Ferris claimed he never met Sinn Fein Gerry Adams at an IRA meeting.

Asked twice if he was sure he never met Mr Adams at IRA meetings, Mr Ferris twice said: “no”.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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