met Adams on a cold, grey Easter Monday in Belfast in 1994. ….
After the pleasantries were completed I was led to a small
upstairs room. The
Irish News poster, "Sinn Fein shrugs off bomb attack",
plastered on the wall adjoining the street explained why the upstairs
windows had been replaced by bricks and mortar.
The Loyalist enemy had fired a rocket at the building only
a few days earlier. For
all the vilification and misrepresentation he received at the hands
of the British press Adams was remarkably conciliatory.
we're looking for is for London and Dublin to come to an agreement
to end the partition of the country and to do so in terms of a process
around an agreed timeframe and to do so in consultation with all
we're mindful that the Unionists especially, know they're a very
large section of our people, are hostile to all of these ideas and
want to protect their own position.
They're victims of the history of the place.
So it should be done in a way that seeks to get their participation
and their fullest involvement," he said.
someone whose life was in constant danger and in whom travelled
the impassioned aspirations of a tribe dispossessed but unconquered
since the Treaty of 1921, he was astonishingly calm.
At the time of our meeting, Sinn Fein and the IRA were in
protracted discussions about a ceasefire.
Two years after its declaration, in the wake of British intransigence,
uncompromising Republicans such as Bernadette Devlin were accusing
Sinn Féin of being duped just as Collins and his Party had been
75 years earlier.
told in my book Cleary Independent published by HarperCollins