Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein defends Gerry Adams' comments justifying use of violence

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Sinn Fein has defended comments made by Gerry Adams that violence can still be justified to reach political aims in certain circumstances.

The former Sinn Fein President, when asked whether violence was ever justified to achieve political aims during an interview with German news outlet ‘Der Spiegel’, said: “I think in given circumstances. And the circumstances at that time in the north were that people were being denied their rights.”

The Louth TD’s comments have been roundly criticised by opposition parties leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Sinn Fein has now moved to clarify the party’s position, releasing a statement to the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster on Monday morning.

A party spokesman said: “There is no political party in Ireland which hasn’t supported the use of armed action as a legitimate response in given circumstances. Each year political parties across Ireland commemorate the Easter Rising and the Tan war.

"Others commemorate the armed actions of 1690, loyalist mutinies against the British Government and the partition of Ireland against the democratic wishes of the Irish people, World Wars and British imperialist wars of aggression, which continue right across the globe.”

Mike Nesbitt, former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, speaking on the Nolan Show, said the Troubles in Northern Ireland could not be described as a war.

He said that if it had of been a war, atrocities such as the La Mon restaurant bombing, the murder of Jean McConville and Bloody Friday would be considered war crimes and that the perpetrators would be prosecuted as war criminals at the Hague [Internatonal Court of Justice].

He said: “This was not a war, this was a grubby terrorist sectarian campaign.”

He added: “I am very surprised he [Gerry Adams] said this. But of course, on the other hand, Republicans are now desperate to rewrite history and to find a way of papering over the fact that they were responsible for some of the worst cases of the abuse of human rights, including the most fundamental human right, the right to life, in incidents such as ones I just described.”

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