Adams Speaking In Montréal At End Of Six Day Trip To The USA And Canada

(Sinn Féin Press Release, Monday, November 11, 2002)

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA is in Montréal today on the final leg of an extensive 6 day trip to the USA and Canada.

Last Wednesday in Washington DC he met with President Bush’s Special Advisor on Ireland, Ambassador Richard Haass, for what was a constructive one and half hour meeting.

In New York Mr. Adams met Mayor Mike Bloomberg and a range of US Congress members; including Peter King, Joe Crowley and John Sweeney, fresh from their successful re–election campaigns.

The Friends of Sinn Féin fundraiser in New York was a huge success with 1000 people packing into the Sheraton Hotel.

Last Friday the Sinn Féin President was guest of honour at a reception hosted by New Jersey Governor James McGreevey at his residence. That evening the first ever Friends of Sinn Féin event in New Jersey state was held in Hamilton. It was also attended by the State Governor and several hundred enthusiastic Irish Americans.

On Saturday Mr. Adams traveled to Toronto for a meeting with the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bill Graham. The Sinn Féin President praised the positive contribution of eminent Canadian citizens to the peace process in Ireland, as well as updating the Minister on the crisis in the political process.

Speaking at a press conference in Montréal today at the end of his trip Mr. Adams said:

“If the unionists wish to walk away from the political institutions that is a matter for them.

“But they cannot be permitted a veto over the rights and entitlements of citizens.

“The British government has acknowledged that it has not implemented the Good Friday Agreement. There are serious problems in the fields of human rights, equality and justice matters, as well as policing and other issues.

“Policing especially is a key issue and there exists in the immediate future an opportunity for the British to return to the objectives for policing set by the Good Friday Agreement. But both governments need to clearly understand that no amount of public hectoring will resolve this matter.

“They know what is required and must concentrate their efforts on achieving that. These are all issues for the two governments, but especially the British government. And they are not matters for negotiation or renegotiation.

“Too often since the Good Friday Agreement was achieved the British government has pandered to unionist demands, to unionist preconditions and obstacles.

“This approach has also suited some elements within the British system.

“This cannot be allowed to happen in the future. A veto over the political institutions cannot become a veto over peoples rights and entitlements.”