Adams's Statement: 'Sinn Fein wants to see all guns taken out of Irish society'

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The Independent Online

I welcome this morning's announcement of an assembly election on November 26. I appeal to the electorate to use their vote in support of a continuing process of change and a peaceful and just future for all our people.

For us the destination is an Irish republic. Completing the journey means having a political strategy to get us there. It means engaging with and putting our case to our opponents. It means taking the political offensive, taking initiatives, and engaging in the battle of ideas.

Sinn Fein is a united Ireland party. But being an Irish republican means more than paying lip service to the 1916 Proclamation. It means refusing to stand still. It means taking risks. It means reaching out to others. It means moving forward.

Republicans have worked to have the Good Friday Agreement implemented, because it fits into a strategy to create an alternative to conflict. The Agreement with its vision of a fair and just society operating exclusively democratically and peacefully was democratically endorsed by the vast majority of the people. I want to reiterate my total commitment to playing a leadership role to bring an end to conflict on our island, including physical force republicanism.

As president of Sinn Fein, I have set out a peaceful direction which I trust everyone will follow. Sinn Fein's position is one of total and absolute commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means of resolving differences. We are opposed to any use or threat of force for any political purpose. Sinn Fein wants to see all guns taken out of Irish society. While calling on all armed groups to desist I want to appeal especially to organisations which present themselves as republican. I appeal to them to join with the rest of us, republicans and Unionists, nationalists and loyalists, in collectively building a new future based on justice and peace.

I know activists will have reservations about much of this. But we have to look at the bigger picture. We have to look towards the common good. Bobby Sands summed it all up best for me. Despite great hardship, deprivation and physical hurt he never lost sight of his vision for a new Ireland, an Ireland in which our revenge will be the laughter of our children. It is always easier to begin a journey. The hard thing is to finish it. Sinn Fein is in this process to the finish.