Adams warns of 'sabotage' to peace process

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Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, on the eve of this week's historic visit to Downing Street, has accused elements of the security and intelligence services of working against the Irish peace process.

He told the Independent on Sunday that "securocrats" within the Establishment had not adjusted to the possibility of a new political agenda which carried the potential for fundamental change. He blamed as possible culprits the RUC, Army, the intelligence services MI5 and MI6 and senior civil servants involved in security co-ordination.

They were responsible, he said, for opposing calls for a new inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings by paratroopers in 1972, and for last week's reports that he and fellow Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness were members of the IRA's army council.

The suspicion that some security elements were working against the peace process is not confined to Sinn Fein, but exists in other parts of Irish nationalism, where there have been complaints that the relaxation of the security measures in the wake of July's IRA cease-fire have been deliberately tardy.

There are also those within the Labour Party itself who speculate privately that some security elements are not yet completely in tune with government policy.

But Tony Blair's approach, as his coming meeting with Mr Adam's illustrates, is one of drawing Sinn Fein ever more tightly into the political processes.

Mr Adams's comments about the security services were scathingly rejected yesterday by Ken Maginnis MP, the Ulster Unionist Party's security spokesman, who retorted: "My attitude is that it really doesn't matter how Gerry Adams refers to those who have responsibility for the safety and security of people in Northern Ireland.

"They are essential in a situation where Mr Adams himself, his acolyte Martin McGuinness and others command an illegal army which is willing to turn against the most defensively civilian targets."

Gerry Adams interview, page 10