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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
Smithwick Tribunal

Gerry Adams: 'Laissez faire' comments reflect what is recorded by Smithwick Tribunal

Gerry Adams is standing by his remarks in relation to two RUC officers who were murdered by the IRA 24 years ago.

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has defended his remarks about two RUC officers murdered by the IRA having a “laissez faire” attitude towards their personal safety.

In a statement posted to his blog Léargas, Adams said today that while it was never his intention to say anything which “detracts” from the hurt being experienced by the families of Harry Breen and Pat Buchanan, what he said reflects the report of Justice Smithwick published this week.

He also hit out at the “contrived outburst” of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in the Dáil this week and the “pompous remarks” by the Justice Minister Alan Shatter who described Adams’s comments as “nauseating”.

“I am very conscious that at the heart of this issue are two bereaved families,” Adams said, adding he did not needed to be reminded of this “by any of my political opponents”.

“I am concerned, as I was during the Newstalk interview, not to say anything which detracts from that or which causes any further hurt. That was never my intention,” he said.

Adams’s initial comments in a Newstalk Breakfast interview yesterday morning have drawn widespread condemnation and the defence of his remarks by Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn has also led to criticism.

‘Everyone knows IRA was responsible’

But the Sinn Féin president insisted that what he said reflects what is recorded by the Smithwick report, saying that it is “nonsense to suggest that I was blaming the two RUC officers for their own deaths. Everyone knows the IRA was responsible. That was never in question”.

Adams quotes from the report, saying that it noted Buchanan having crossed the border on average 10 times a month, travelling on his own and in a car that, the report said, was “readily identifiable”.

He said the report noted “there was a general view that the RUC crossing the border were targets”.

Adams goes on to say: “Clearly, the decision to continue to travel as frequently as they did across the border, without escort, left the RUC officers open to the real possibility of attack. None of this distracts from the tragedy and loss of life.”

He goes on to express concerns about the conclusions of the tribunal, pointing out that it accepts that there is “no direct evidence of collusion and then went on to claim without supporting evidence that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ there was collusion”.

In the blogpost he goes onto call for the outstanding issues of the Weston Park Agreement to be dealt with and criticises his opponents for not being open to discussing the Sinn Féin proposal for “a comprehensive, victim centred, truth recovery process under the tutelage of an independent international agency”.

He added: “Could it be that partitionism and revisionism allied with party political self-interest has primacy over more important matters?”

Read: ‘Insulting, offensive, quite outrageous’: Sinn Féin criticised over Smithwick response

Read: Gerry Adams criticised by Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil over response to Smithwick Tribunal

More: Adams branded “an apologist for terrorists” after “laissez faire” remark

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