I helped write crucial Gerry Adams peace process speech, says Tony Blair fixer Jonathan Powell

Jonathan Powell

The key passages in one of the most important speeches made by Gerry Adams during the peace process were written for him by a top official in the British Government, it has been claimed.

The explosive revelation comes in a new book by the man who says he wrote the passages, Jonathan Powell. Powell was Tony Blair’s chief of staff in Downing Street and played the leading role on the British side in negotiating peace in Northern Ireland.

In the book, Talking To Terrorists, which is published today, Powell says that he wrote the speech for Adams at a critical point in the peace process and that he did so at Adams’ request.

Mr Adams added to the text provided by Mr Powell but the key passage in which Gerry Adams said he could see a future without the IRA was written by Powell.

Mr Powell says in the book that the Adams speech – a keynote address given by the Sinn Féin president at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan on Saturday, October 26, 2002 – came at an absolutely critical time in the peace process.

The Good Friday Agreement, which had been signed in 1998, was in danger of collapse at the time because of the failure of the IRA to decommission.

“Constructive ambiguity made the Good Friday Agreement possible, but it became destructive over time,” Mr Powell writes.

“We could have sat for three years rather than three days and nights (in 1998) if we had insisted on resolving the issue of decommissioning of IRA weapons there and then. The unionists and the republicans just weren’t ready to reach an agreement on it. Instead we had to reach for language that could be interpreted in different ways by the two sides.”

Mr Powell writes: “We felt that we had to address the ambiguity or lose the agreement, so Tony Blair made a speech in Belfast in which he demanded that Sinn Féin choose between the Armalite and the ballot box. We were nervous about the response but Adams called me a few days later and said, to our relief, it was a good speech. To my surprise he asked me if I would draft his response.

“I tried to write in republican-speak and composed a passage that ended with ‘People ask me do I envisage a future without an IRA? The answer is obvious. The answer is yes’.

“I turned on the television a few days later to see Adams deliver the speech unchanged.”

The full text of the lengthy Adams speech is available online on various websites.


“I want to see an end to all of the armed groups on this island. That has to be the aim of every thinking republican. So if you ask me do I envisage a future without the IRA? The answer is obvious. The answer is Yes. And who can influence the IRA most? The British government – the unionists – the Irish government and us as well of course. All of us have to make politics work.”

A passage from the Gerry Adams speech which Jonathan Powell claims he wrote.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the origional story.



TODAY we launch an appeal for much-needed funds for loyalist paramilitaries and Loyalist Communities Council (LCC).


After giving up their criminal campaign, 20 years after they last promised to give up their criminal campaign, the Re-home a Red Hand and Adopt a UDA Man (RRHAUDAM) appeals urgently need your help. For just £50,000 a year could give idle buggers like Sammy from the Shankill a community worker’s job.
It would help to pay for the three holidays a year and the top-of-the-range car which he and his family so badly need. In return, he’ll promise to enrich the culture of his community and lay off doing anyones’ knees. Obviously he’d still be good for a bit of blow (weed) but keep it to yourself. But the suddenly contrite paramilitaries aren’t looking for charity. They will be bringing important job skills to any cushy number they’re offered. They have maths skills from years of working out if Jonty has a kilo of weed how many half ounces can he knock out if he expects a 50 per cent mark up.

Or if a local businessman refuses to pay his £80-a-week protection money how many bricks will it take to do his windows. They have invaluable people skills, honed over decades of dealing with the local community – the bookies, the bar men, the travel agents, the car dealers, the wee girls in the off-licence. And all they want is the chance to give back to their community by getting the jobs few of them have ever bothered getting before. They long to experience life on minimum wage and a zero hours contract because who needs qualifications when you have an overwhelming sense of entitlement. Our appeal so far has raised £1 million from the Tony Blair’s an Angel Who’s Still Fixing the World Foundation.



It’s a tiny amount compared to the £26 million which was raised by the PIRA in their Northern Bank fundraiser but it was either that or cupcake sales for the next millennium. It’s vitally important that the paramilitaries are shown our love because otherwise they might just keep doing what they’ve always done for the last 20 years. There will be some strays from the path of peace, like Tyrone, South East Antrim, East Belfast and the UPRG who aren’t ready to leave the old ways behind. They will be humanely arrested for blatantly breaking the law, even though they’ve miraculously got away with a life of crime up to now. So please give what you can – support your local loyalist so he doesn’t have to.
With many thanks to: Roisin Gorman. http://roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com. Sunday World.

Loyalist groups ‘denounce criminality’ and support new loyalist community council – BBC News

Peace pledge loyalists (LCC) the new name for UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando are in line for Blair £1m



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