“If You Have Border Installations, People Will Shoot at Them”

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/09/northern-ireland-eamonn-mccann-troubles-brexit-belfast?fbclid=IwAR38-MUq9h7yZpu9ah_HzqVRsYKAOhKMbJr3uq18h5qbxjdMJyMJp3vGdqE

I helped write crucial Gerry Adams peace process speech, says Tony Blair fixer Jonathan Powell

Jonathan Powell

The key passages in one of the most important speeches made by Gerry Adams during the peace process were written for him by a top official in the British Government, it has been claimed.

The explosive revelation comes in a new book by the man who says he wrote the passages, Jonathan Powell. Powell was Tony Blair’s chief of staff in Downing Street and played the leading role on the British side in negotiating peace in Northern Ireland.

In the book, Talking To Terrorists, which is published today, Powell says that he wrote the speech for Adams at a critical point in the peace process and that he did so at Adams’ request.

Mr Adams added to the text provided by Mr Powell but the key passage in which Gerry Adams said he could see a future without the IRA was written by Powell.

Mr Powell says in the book that the Adams speech – a keynote address given by the Sinn Féin president at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan on Saturday, October 26, 2002 – came at an absolutely critical time in the peace process.

The Good Friday Agreement, which had been signed in 1998, was in danger of collapse at the time because of the failure of the IRA to decommission.

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“Constructive ambiguity made the Good Friday Agreement possible, but it became destructive over time,” Mr Powell writes.

“We could have sat for three years rather than three days and nights (in 1998) if we had insisted on resolving the issue of decommissioning of IRA weapons there and then. The unionists and the republicans just weren’t ready to reach an agreement on it. Instead we had to reach for language that could be interpreted in different ways by the two sides.”

Mr Powell writes: “We felt that we had to address the ambiguity or lose the agreement, so Tony Blair made a speech in Belfast in which he demanded that Sinn Féin choose between the Armalite and the ballot box. We were nervous about the response but Adams called me a few days later and said, to our relief, it was a good speech. To my surprise he asked me if I would draft his response.

“I tried to write in republican-speak and composed a passage that ended with ‘People ask me do I envisage a future without an IRA? The answer is obvious. The answer is yes’.

“I turned on the television a few days later to see Adams deliver the speech unchanged.”

The full text of the lengthy Adams speech is available online on various websites.

Quote

“I want to see an end to all of the armed groups on this island. That has to be the aim of every thinking republican. So if you ask me do I envisage a future without the IRA? The answer is obvious. The answer is Yes. And who can influence the IRA most? The British government – the unionists – the Irish government and us as well of course. All of us have to make politics work.”

A passage from the Gerry Adams speech which Jonathan Powell claims he wrote.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the origional story.

 

This months opinion piece comes from our youth wing co – ordinator and recently elected National Executive member Jude Macrory.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which was intended to be the death of Irish Republicanism.

From that time and since those Republicans who would not be bought, those who stood firm and remained resolute, have been the subject of endless ridicule, innuendo and criminalisation by those now widely regarded as British funded gate keepers.

The Good Friday Agreement, whilst internationally binding, was transitory and later superseded by the Saint Andrews Agreement which ultimately gave MI5 primacy over policing in the occupied six counties.

British policing powers that have been used nightmarishly to harass and deny liberty of Republicans, as seen with Tony Taylor, Gabriel Mackle and recently Neil Hegarty whose release licences were revoked by a British overlord, mI5 and a senior member of the British Crown Forces.

As with all these agreements, they were dirty deals made with the British behind closed doors. And each dirty deal has the same vein of capitulation and abandonment of Republicanism. Sinn Fein are as much responsible for the interment of Republicans as the British, they are all part and parcel of British administration in the North.

Numerous agreements have been made in a bid to make the occupied six counties just that bit more workable and have been sold to the public as progress when they are nothing but regressive tactics of old, resurrected in new clothing.

The latest example of this is the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. This provided for the introduction of welfare reform in the North of Ireland among other things and as is the norm here, it too was succeeded by the Fresh Start Agreement , which made provision in 2015 for plans relating to welfare reform outlined in 2014 to be repackaged and sent to Westminster for administration in collaboration with British Government plans.

These plans included the introduction of universal credit which replaces exsisting income support with a combined payment for new claimants who will have to wait long periods of time to receive and a two child cap with every third child born after April 6th 2017 being denied income support. We then have the Bedroom Tax which will see those with extra bedrooms having to pay for them from their benefits or low incomes. These are just some of the plans which Sinn Fein signed off on yet they continue to claim to be resistant. A postion that is laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

Prior to Christmas former Hunger Striker Raymond McCartney proudly displayed a poster in solidarity with Catalonian Political Prisoners. There is no disputing the need for international solidarity on the reality of Political Prisoners, but for Raymond McCartney to ignore the plight of current and local Republican Political Prisoners is dismissive, egotistical and is representive of his current Republican credentials.

Sinn Feins lack of support for Republican Political Prisoners is evident through their previous membership on Stormont’s Justice Committee, a subsidary of the British Justice Department whose role it is to oversee the day to day running of British gaols. Gaols in which Republican Political Prisoners and their families are regularly subjected to abuse and where MI5 have revolving door acess to harass political prisoners as was clear through the treatment of Gavin Coyle.

Sinn Fein merely pay lip service to the case of Tony Taylor while completley ignoring Gabriel Mackle and Neil Hegarty. While at the same time calling on the British Crown Forces to deal with Republicans and also call on the local community to inform.

Today Sinn Fein claim to be closer than ever to securing a United Ireland. How? Their words and deeds are not only in conflict with the Proclamation of 1916 but are totally in contrast to the efforts freely made by those Republicans who made the ultimate sacrifice and paid for it with their lives.

In the words of the former Sinn Fein Vice President, the late Maire Drumm, “We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever”.

With many thanks to: Junior McDaid House