21 October 2005
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams says Northern Ireland could draw on South Africa’s experience of how to achieve reconciliation.
“What we want in Ireland, essentially, is what you have achieved here in South Africa; we want our freedom,” he said.
Adams was addressing South Africa’s Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday – the second time he has done so – and said there were “lessons to be learnt” from South Africa’s reconciliation process.
Although “huge challenges” existed in the Northern Ireland peace process, he said the majority of its people wanted an end to conflict. “What the people want, the politicians will have to deliver,” he added.
Earlier in the week, Adams met with President Thabo Mbeki and Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, both of whom, he said, had offered assistance with his country’s reconciliation process “if and when it is necessary in the time ahead to help us.”
Adams also visited Freedom Park at Salvokop outside Pretoria to learn more about the steps South Africa has taken to heal the wounds of its apartheid past.
Sinn Fein, which is celebrating 100 years of existence, is the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The IRA recently denounced violence by decommissioning its arsenal of weapons.
Adams’ visit ended on Friday.