14/12/2010

Adams Selected For Louth 'Under Cloud'

The Sinn Féin President has been successfully selected to run for the party in Co Louth during the next election, but under a cloud of controversy.

Speaking yesterday evening at the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk after being selected to stand as the Sinn Féin candidate for County Louth and East Meath, Gerry Adams (pictured) said: "The people of Ireland are looking for a new type of politics based on fairness and decency."

However, Mr Adam's comments come only a day after sensational leaked cables from whistleblowing website Wikileaks, which revealed the Irish Taoiseach believed the Sinn Fein President along with the party's current incumbent Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were forewarned of the Northern Bank Robbery.

However, defiant in his acceptance of selection last night, Mr Adams said: "I want to thank all of you for selecting me as your candidate… Ireland today, north and south, is at a crossroads. This state is in the midst of a deep economic and social crisis – the worst in its history. The future of citizens and their families has been pawned in order to pay for the obscene greed of a golden circle of politicians, bankers and speculators. This is unacceptable," he said.

The Sinn Fein President also appealed to TDs to vote against the bank bailout deal when it comes in front of the Dáil on later today. He said: "As a result of legal action by Sinn Féin, the Dáil will have an opportunity to vote against the International Monetary Fund and EU dig-out for the banks. Sinn Féin will oppose the… deal and I have called on all TDs to vote against it.
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"Those who vote for it should be reminded of this by the electorate when the Taoiseach eventually calls an election."

Mr Adam's unexpected decision to run in the Louth constituency was thought to have been a safe choice of seat, but the re-emergence of the damaging Northern Bank allegations have cast some doubt over his likelihood to be elected.

The former MLA was forced to respond yesterday to the leaked February 2005 cable from a US ambassador to Dublin, which revealed a senior Irish government official told the Embassy of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's concerns about Mr Adams and Martin McGuinness.

The cable claimed the official wrote "the government of Ireland does have 'rock solid evidence' that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are members of the IRA military command and for that reason, the Taoiseach is certain they would have known in advance of the robbery".

In another cable on 1 June 2005, six months after the robbery, it was reported that Ahern had raised his concerns with Mitchell Reiss, the US envoy to Ireland.

The cable says: "The Taoiseach … believes Sinn Fein leaders were aware of plans to rob the Northern Bank even as they negotiated with him last fall".

Yesterday morning, a joint statement from the Sinn Fein President said: "Martin McGuinness and I both absolutely rejected these unfounded allegations at the time and do so again today.

"We publicly and privately challenged the Taoiseach to produce evidence to support his allegations. He didn't," it said. "We told him they were groundless and untrue."

See: McGuinness 'Knew Bank Was Targeted'

(DW/KMcA)

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