Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has found himself in a bit of hot water after he said he believes violence can, in certain circumstances, be justified to reach political aims.
In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Mr Adams was asked about the Troubles, the current political deadlock in Northern Ireland and his hopes for a united Ireland.
He was speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement next week.
When asked if he believes violence is a legitimate means with which to reach one’s aims, he replied: “I think in given circumstances.
He went on to say “And the circumstances at that time in the North were that people were being denied their rights.
“The English occupiers refused to concede those and in fact attacked the demonstrators. The most disastrous mistake that the English government made is that they handed the situation over to the generals. That always leads to a militarisation of the situation. Military people are not there to pacify, they are there to subjugate.”
Mr Adams denied ever shooting at anyone during the Troubles but said he joined Sinn Féin after reading what the British government had planned for Ireland in the Special Powers Act.
He said “The people that I know didn’t go to war. The war came to us,”
“I woke up one morning, and the British Army were in occupation of the local school, the local football pitch, the local social centre, the roadblocks were up. They were stopping you. They were throwing you up against the wall. They were arresting you. They were molesting women, and so on and so on.”
Mr Adams was asked how he reconciled his Catholic faith with the use of violence.
He said “It’s still my view that the use of armed actions in the given circumstances is a legitimate response. Whether you exercise that right is another issue. And of course, there were many things that the IRA did which were wrong. And I both condemned at the time and deplore and regret it to this time,”
Mr Adams was also asked if the Belfast Agreement was worth the deaths of more than 3,000 people killed during the Troubles.
He said “Well, it’s hard to measure it in those ways. Of course, it would’ve been far better if not one person was killed or injured. But you don’t pursue and you don’t get progress without struggle,”
“And I say that as someone who has lost a lot of family members and friends and who has been tortured and shot myself. I’ve been there, and I’ve been at many, many funerals. But of course, you can only measure all of this at the end of all of this. And I do believe that Irish unity is going to be the reality.
Many people up North including the DUP are angry at his comments and have called for him to apologise.
They believe sending out the message that violence can be justified is wrong.
Do you think he should apologise? Or do you think violence during the troubles was somewhat necessary?
Today I want to know what you think.
Do you think Gerry Adams should apologise for saying violence is justified in certain circumstances?