Gerry Adams says IRA does not control Sinn Féin

Ireland’s Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams says IRA doesn’t have control over party after latest reports claiming PIRA members believe their council oversees Sinn Féin too

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Sinn Fein Party leader Gerry Adams in a speech to the media at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland on September 8 2015

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams rejected the claims that its former paramilitary wing Provisional IRA has any control over the party in a televised interview on Wednesday.

"No one can control Sinn Féin but the Sinn Féin membership," he said.

A report by the Secretary of State in Northern Ireland on paramilitary groups published on October 19 stated that the Provisional IRA members “believe that the PAC [Provisional Army Council] oversees both PIRA and Sinn Féin with an overarching strategy.”

Adams rejected such a claim and told RTE - the national broadcaster of Ireland - that "there is a suggestion Sinn Féin is controlled by some outside body or group. We are not."

"There is no space for armed groups. There is no space for anything other than peaceful and democratic ways of advancing political and democratic objectives," he added.

The reports states that paramilitary groups including PIRA “continue to engage in violent activity, both directed by local leadership and conducted without sanction.”

Adams, on the other hand, rejected the existence of the IRA and described the report as "mischief-making" being exploited by political opponents.

Sinn Féin was the political wing of the IRA during the Troubles, a 30-year period of violence, which caused 3,500 people their lives in Northern Ireland. PIRA was the most active paramilitary group during that period. It was responsible of 1,771 deaths between 1969 and 1998.

Sinn Féin or “we ourselves,” is currently sharing the government with the Unionists who support the unity of Irish lands and Britain.

“Members of all groups have carried out murders since the 1998 Belfast Agreement,” the report says, but it adds that “PIRA’s leadership remains committed to the peace process and its aim of achieving a united Ireland by political means.”

However, Dissident Republicans, the dissident groups who reject the agreement and are not on a ceasefire have carried out between 15 and 40 terrorist attacks each year in Northern Ireland since 2000, mainly directed at police officers, according to the report.

Adams also said that his commitment to the peace process put his life in danger from dissidents. “My home has been regularly targeted with bomb alerts. I and other Sinn Féin representatives are under active death threats,” he said, according to Irish Times.

TRTWorld and agencies