Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams 'contributed nothing positive to NI history', say unionists

By Suzanne Breen

Unionists last night united in saying "good riddance" to Gerry Adams who has announced he is stepping down as Sinn Fein president early next year.

The DUP, Ulster Unionists and TUV all claimed Mr Adams had contributed nothing positive to politics or history.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "The bloodstained dictator in Zimbabwe is in the process of being removed from power and our own version of Robert Mugabe - Gerry Adams - has promised to throw in the towel.

"There will be no tears from anyone in the unionist community at his going. It will be a case of good riddance to this purveyor of misery and, during recent talks, blocker of democracy."

Mr Wilson claimed the Sinn Fein president and Mr Mugabe had much in common.

"They blamed everyone else, especially the British Government for the problems which they themselves were responsible for creating.

"They both embraced ruinous extreme left-wing economic policies. They stamped out any dissent within their respective political organisations," he accused.

The East Antrim MP said that while there was no guarantee that their respective replacements would bring about "a change in approach or attitude ... nevertheless the demise of any tyrant is also a welcome event".

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann claimed Mr Adams' legacy would be "other people's tears and suffering".

Mr Wilson urged him to use his remaining time as Sinn Fein president to get the republican movement to hand over any information that could secure the recovery of the bodies of the remaining Disappeared. "Tell the republican movement to hand over any information they have in relation to Captain Robert Nairac, Columba McVeigh and Joe Lynskey. All these men deserve a Christian burial," he said.

Mr Swann claimed that at the ard fheis, Sinn Fein had "rubbed the noses of the IRA's victims in the dirt" by glorifying the IRA "who stole the ultimate right from its victims - the right to life". The UUP leader called on Mr Adams to immediately step aside from the Stormont talks as his contribution was "neither helpful nor constructive".

He commented: "When others within Sinn Fein have been seemingly keen to do a deal, he has stamped on them. And he really shouldn't be there as he doesn't have the mandate to participate as he is elected in another jurisdiction."

Mr Swann called on the Sinn Fein president to clarify that he wasn't seeking co-option or re-election to the Assembly or Westminster.

"He's been clear with regards to his intentions south of the border but not in relation to UK elected bodies," he stated. TUV leader Jim Allister said: "In entering into retirement Adams hopes to enjoy what the IRA brutally denied to so many.

"Jean McConville and hundreds more never got this opportunity. It would be fitting if such reality haunted him, but, I suspect, his conscience is seared beyond such considerations."

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