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Ignore guns furore, urges Adams

Feb 2 2006


Gerry Adams urged the British and Irish Governments to ignore a major row over alleged IRA weapons retention and prove they can advance the troubled Northern Ireland peace process.

The Sinn Fein president also insisted the Provisionals had dealt decisively with their guns as his party demanded the disbandment of a ceasefire watchdog that provoked uproar with its arms assessment.

Amid a deepening political storm over the Independent Monitoring Commission claiming it had reports the IRA still had access to a range of weapons, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde refused to be dragged into the controversy by disclosing whether the intelligence came from his force.

The furore has further poisoned attempts by London and Dublin to inject momentum into the process.

Ahead of their talks with all the main political parties at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down on Monday, Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists warned they were not prepared to return to power-sharing with Sinn Fein.

Their stance was based on the IMC declaring the IRA was still heavily involved in spying, money laundering, smuggling, as well as the huge uncertainty over how complete the terrorist organisation's final act of decommissioning last September really was.

But Mr Adams insisted that his party was not prepared to simply wait for the DUP to grasp the new political realities. He said: "The IRA have dealt decisively with the issue of arms. It cannot be done again. Those opposed to this process are attempting to bring all of us down a cul-de-sac.

The West Belfast MP added: "The two governments have stated that they wish to see rapid progress made in the time ahead. This is possible, if the two governments display the necessary political will and the primacy of the political process is asserted. They need to match their rhetoric with action."

His call came as Sir Hugh faced demands to reveal the source of intelligence contained in the IMC report.

Facing members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Chief Constable refused to confirm what exactly police had provided the Commission with before its controversial report was published on Wednesday.


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