Ireland: Sinn Fein accuses Britain of 'bad faith' after activists' arrest

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams accused the British government on May 24 of breaching commitments given during peace talks over a decade ago. Adams' comments came after the arrest of leading Donegal Sinn Fein member John Downey.

The 61-year-old was brought before Westminster Magistrates Court to face charges over a 1982 IRA attack in London’s Hyde Park in which four soldiers were killed.

Adams said an agreement forged with the British government at the 2001 Weston Park talks about republicans still pursued over outstanding prosecutions had been breached.

He said the arrest of Downey “is a matter of grave concern and a clear breach of commitments given by the British government at Weston Park and in subsequent negotiations”.

The 2001 talks near Birmingham were intended to secure the implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The Weston Park deal helped secure the final disarming of the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly described Downey as “a long time supporter of the peace process”.

Kelly said: “The decision to arrest and charge him in relation to IRA activities in the early 1980s is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful. It will cause anger within the republican community.”

[Abridged from Irish Republican News.]

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