Gerry Adams’ speech is now available. Perhaps the most significant passage is this one:
The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally.
I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann to fully embrace and accept this alternative.
Can you take courageous initiatives which will achieve your aims by purely political and democratic activity?
I know full well that such truly historic decisions can only be taken in the aftermath of intense internal consultation. I ask that you initiate this as quickly as possible.
It will be interesting to see if an IRA statement emerges in response to this.
It doesn’t look like it will cut much ice with DUP leader Ian Paisley, who earlier in the day appeared to rule out negotiations with Sinn Fein after May 5.
I can’t help being reminded of Mr Paisley’s ‘sackcloth and ashes’ speech in December last year, which many saw as an attempt to provoke republican hardliners at a time when a major IRA offer was on the table.
Right now, the DUP is in a very comfortable position, but that could change if Adams is able to deliver, and Paisley has to face up to the prospect of going into government with Sinn Fein.
Having said that, even Sinn Fein think that much of the DUP leadership are prepared to share power at some point, so hopefully Paisley’s statement is just electioneering (and Adams’ statement is something more).