Adams stays in media firing line with verdict on shooting

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams prompted fresh controversy yesterday as he side-stepped questions about this week's swoop on an IRA explosives cache, insisting he was simply "very pleased that only one person was killed".

Mr Adams pressed ahead with his London visit, despite his decision to pull out of a Commons meeting with Labour backbenchers Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Benn. The Sinn Fein leader did meet the MPs at a venue outside the Commons and posed for cameras on the green in front of Parliament.

Mr Adams held a news conference in the Irish Centre in Camden, north London, instead. He admitted he had nearly pulled out of news conferences and book-launches in Dublin and Belfast as well as in London because of what happened earlier this week. "I am quite sensitive that, at a time when a young man has been killed in quite controversial circumstances in London, that I have other priorities," he said.

His suggestion that he was "very pleased that only one person was killed" in the security forces swoop on suspected IRA terrorists earlier this week came in response to a question about whether he welcomed the seizure of 10 tons of explosives.

"I think that in all of this you can look at a particular incident. We need to look at the larger position," he said.

He said he had never met Diarmuid O'Neill - the suspected terrorist who was killed - but repeated his call for questions to be answered about the circumstances of his death.

Mr Corbyn broke a silence that had lasted several days today when he told BBC Radio 4's World at One that he had been surprised at all the fuss over the planned Commons meeting with the Sinn Fein President.

"Gerry Adams has been into the building before and, if there's to be a peace process in Ireland, clearly it has got to involve Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams," he said. "Tony Benn and myself expected to have a private meeting in the House of Commons. Somebody decided to make that public.

"It then became a public furore. I thought the meeting should go ahead anyway, but I heard with a phone call at 6.30am from Gerry Adams's personal assistant that the meeting was not going to take place there because he didn't want to continue with the problems being caused."

The republican movement yesterday refrained from claiming Diarmuid O'Neill as a member of the IRA, referring to him in its weekly publication, Republican News, simply as "an Irishman." Instead, the news-sheet concentrated on alleging he had died in "an elaborate shoot-to-kill operation". It announced that a protest picket would be held at Downing Street on Sunday.

Republican News declared: "The killers riddled their victim with bullets and dragged his body from his home. When their deed was done they fed the media the story that the young man had been killed in a gunbattle and that shots had been exchanged.

"Virtually all the media in Britain and Ireland on Monday and Tuesday, in the crucial hours after the killing, dutifully carried this story."

The incident is being compared by republicans to the incident in Gibraltar in 1988 when SAS soldiers shot dead three unarmed IRA members.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms