Adams holds back on joint declaration: Alan Murdoch finds concern at differences between Dublin and London

GERRY ADAMS, the leader of Sinn Fein, held back from a clear-cut endorsement of the Downing Street Declaration at his party's Ard Fheis (annual conference) at the weekend. But he emphasised that the door remained open to a republican ceasefire, and that the IRA would row in behind a package that embraced the main principles of the Hume-Adams initiative.

Mr Adams's continuing concern that London has a different interpretation to Dublin of the declaration was underlined yesterday in an interview on Irish radio.

He said he was satisfied with the clarification he had received from the Irish government, though there were still 'some matters to be teased out'.

He insisted the only people who could clarify the British position were the British themselves. And he claimed the reason the British were refusing to give clarification was 'in case it's different from that given by the Irish government'.

Although he agreed that the positions taken by the two governments had moved closer together, he said their earlier statements in the aftermath of the announcement on 15 December last year had been 'totally contradictory'.

In the same interview, Mr Adams argued that the British government had to go further in moving Unionists towards a compromise. So far, London had maintained that there could be no change without Unionist consent. 'They (Unionists) believe as they do because they don't have to change,' he said.

Mr Adams appeared to harden his stand against anything short of self-determination for the Irish people as a whole: 'The six-county state is not a unit of self-determination.' At the same time he said Sinn Fein was open to considering all models for the future government of Ireland.

In his conference address, he was careful to highlight the progress represented by the declaration. 'This effort to address republicans directly is a fundamental shift in policy.' He said it marked a small step in the 'slow and painful process of England's disengagement from her first and last colony'.

On the continuing republican campaign, he said he sympathised with all the families bereaved in the conflict 'and especially with the innocent victims of IRA actions'.

While he said he had made clear the Sinn Fein leadership's view of the Shankill Road bombing, to prolonged applause he added 'but our disapproval does not mean that I will abandon young volunteers or their families for the gratification of Fleet Street'.

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently looking fo...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Job Share Year 3/4 Teacher...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments