Gerry Adams: the type of truth process I will work with
By Brian Rowan
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has spoken about the type of truth process he would be prepared to co-operate with, ruling out the Legacy Commission recommended in the Eames/Bradley report.
The West Belfast MP was speaking as his party published a 69-page document — its response to the proposals made by the Consultative Group on the Past.
A Legacy Commission with Investigation and Information Recovery units is the key Eames/Bradley recommendation.
But, yesterday, Mr Adams made clear he is not interested. His argument is the British Government should have no role in shaping a truth process.
“The British are combatant, are partisan,” he said.
“No-one would accept Sinn Fein setting up a Truth Commission, so, no-one should accept the British Government setting up a Truth Commission.”
The main recommendation in Sinn Fein’s document is for an Independent International Truth Commission.
“The two governments should authorize a reputable body such as the UN to devise and implement a process which will guarantee independence and ensure confidence and participation in any future Truth Commission,” he said.
Under those circumstances, he added, he would co-operate.
“I’ll be there and if I’m not, come back and remind me. I think I am duty-bound as part of an ongoing process to build a new society here to use whatever influence I have to build public confidence, and no more importantly than among those people who lost loved ones or who were themselves injured in the course of the conflict.
“So this is a time for, having been through what we came through, for at least trying to make up, and that means all of us have to come forward and deal with each other on a basis of common humanity, and that we’re living on this island and we have to ensure that what occurred never occurs again,” he said.
The Sinn Fein leader said he would call on republicans to “participate in an Independent International Truth Commission”, as proposed by his party.
Did that mean the IRA?
“How would you do that? I’m not going to go into speculating about that,” he responded.
“But what I do know is that I would use all of my influence to ensure that republicans who could speak with authority on these matters would be there.”
Would this Truth Commission be charged with uncovering the truth about the heinous murders of Robert McCartney and Paul Quinn which to date have not been fully investigated much less resolved?
Would this Truth Commission be charged with launching a full investigation into the allegations made by former Irish political prisoner and author of the book “Blanketmen”, Richard O’Rawe? Mr. O’Rawe and several other blanketmen have charged that an offer was made prior to the death of Hunger Striker Joe McDonnell that may have saved the lives of six of the Hunger Strikers. Mr. O’Rawe and others allege that the offer was acceptable to those on the strike but was turned down by the Republican leadership outside the prison.
The families of Patsy O’Hara and Mickey Devine, two men who died on the Hunger Strike, have been campaigning for a truth commission to investigate the allegations since Mr. O’Rawe’s book was published.