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Gerry Adams wants Dublin and London to counter "anti-agreement axis within unionism"

Adams was in The Guardian to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1994 IRA ceasefire.

Image: Niall Carson

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has called on the Irish and British Governments to help create a “pro-agreement axis” in Northern Ireland.

Writing in The Guardian to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1994 IRA ceasefire, Adams said that the political process is facing it’s “greatest challenge” since 1998 due to a range of factors including what he termed an “anti-Good Friday agreement axis within unionism”.

Adams said that “no one should underestimate the changes that have taken place since the 1990s”, adding that he feels that the north is now “beyond” armed conflict.

Despite this, he says that the “the anti-agreement axis within unionism has been active in asserting a negative agenda”, something he says that has led to the DUP being unwilling to participate “positively in the institutions”.

Adams appears to be referring to the several smaller hard-line unionist groups that have developed over the past few years such as the Traditional Unionist Voice and the influence they’ve had on unionism more widely.

The Louth TD and former West Belfast MP says that this trend has ‘reinforced political logjams’ leading to the failure of the Haass proposals at the beginning of this year.

Numerous times during the course of the piece, Adams criticises the British Government for its role in appeasing unionists, adding that Downing Street has also failed to live up to its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement:

The British Government has made no effort on outstanding issues including a bill of rights, an Irish language act, the north-south consultative forum and the inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. These are not matters for negotiation, but agreements made.

“In addition, the Tory-led government wants to impose changes to the welfare system mirroring those introduced in England, Scotland and Wales with disastrous consequences for the disabled, unemployed and the low paid,” he added in direct reference to David Cameron’s coalition.

Adams said that that Sinn Féin still sees the Good Friday Agreement as the roadmap to go forward and echoed calls made yesterday by Martin McGuinness for Dublin, London and Washington to take a more hands-on approach:

The deepening political crisis puts the onus on the Irish and British governments to create a different political context. This requires the two governments, in conjunction with the US administration, to establish a pro-agreement axis among parties in the north.

Read: ‘Step away from conflict’: Martin McGuinness’s peace plea to dissidents >

Read: On this day 20 years ago, the IRA announced its ceasefire >

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Rónán Duffy

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