Belfast Telegraph

'Violence is never the answer' say Alliance after Adams comments

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said violence is never the answer, after Gerry Adams said it was justified in order to reach political aims in certain circumstances.

The former Sinn Féin president was speaking to a German website when he was asked if violence was a legitimate means to reach aims.

"I think in given circumstances. And the circumstances at that time in the north were that people were being denied their rights,” Mr Adams said.

Ms Armstrong said that violence can never be justified.

“Violence is never the answer and murder can never be justified,” said the Strangford MLA.

“It does nothing to progress the cause of those carrying it out. Indeed, the Troubles and violence from all sides delayed the advancement we have seen in the past 20 years and resulted in the polarisation of vast sections of our community.

“These comments are particularly galling, given they come in the week of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. That document saw all parties commit to exclusively democratic and peaceful means. It must be devastating for the loved ones of victims of violence to hear Gerry Adams now claim murder, destruction and devastation was justified in his eyes.

“Mr Adams needs to show leadership reflecting on his comments, condemning all violence without equivocation, acknowledging only dialogue leads to progress and recognising violence does nothing but harm the community we live in. As a society, we have an obligation to ensure the peaceful benefits of the Good Friday Agreement are not lost and there will never be a return to violence.”

The Republic of Ireland's Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan also criticised Mr Adams comments.

"I’m neither shocked nor surprised at Gerry Adams statement from a party that has always eschewed democratic norms," he said

"It is however unacceptable any time but especially on 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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