Irish Republican leader Gerry Adams crossed the threshold of the BritishPrime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street in London today. Adams’meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair of the ruling Labor Party was thefirst time since 1921 that the leader of an armed Irish anti-colonialmovement has officially met with a British leader.
Adams heads Sinn Fein, the legal political wing of the Irish RepublicanArmy, which has been fighting for more than 25 years to end British rule inthe six counties of northern Ireland. Ironically it was only six years agothat the Irish Republican Army launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street.
But since this past summer, the IRA declared a cease fire and peace talksare now underway. But Sinn Fein’s goal of Irish reunification and Britishdecolonization may be a elusive. It has long been opposed by both Londonand the Protestant majority in Northern Ireland, which has steadfastlyrefused to give up its economic and political privileges in the province.
- Eamonn McCann, a civil rights activist and journalist from Derry, NorthernIreland. He is the author of ??War in an Irish Town, and ??What Happened inDerry, a book about Bloody Sunday when British paratroopers killed 14marchers in Derry on January 30, 1972, protesting the British policy ofinternment.
- Jeremy Corbyn, a Member of Parliament with the ruling Labor Party. He wasthreatened with expulsion from the Labor Party last year for bringing GerryAdams to the House of Commons.