Gerry Adams has stated that he still believes violence and the use of "armed actions" can still be justified to reach political aims - in certain circumstances.

The former Sinn Féin president gave an interview to Hamburg-based newspaper 'Der Spiegel' (The Mirror) reflecting on The Troubles, strife in Northern Ireland, and his stance on an array of issues including the use of violence.

In the interview, which was conducted in the run up to the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement - April 10th - Adams vehemently denied every shooting anyone during The Troubles or being a member of the IRA at any stage.

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The politician stated that he joined Sinn Fein in response to reading what the British government had planned for Ireland in the Special Powers Act. Or as he explains it, "The people that I know didn't go to war. The war came to us." 

When pressed about his stance on violence, Adams told interviewer Jörg Schindler that he had maintains that violence may be necessary on occasion.

(Image via Flickr)

(Image via Flickr)

"It's still my view that the use of armed actions in the given circumstances is a legitimate response," he said. "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."

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The paper again asked, "Is violence a legitimate means with which to reach one's aims?"

"I think in given circumstances. And the circumstances at that time in the north were that people were being denied their rights," Adams retaliated.

"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 militarization of the situation. Military people are not there to pacify, they are there to subjugate."

(Image via RollingNews.ie)

(Image via RollingNews.ie)

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In the wake of Adams' controversial interview,  Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong publicly stated that violence is never the answer.

“It does nothing to progress the cause of those carrying it out. Indeed, the Troubles and violence from all sides delayed the advancement we have seen in the past 20 years and resulted in the polarisation of vast sections of our community," Armstrong told The Belfast Telegraph.

“These comments are particularly galling, given they come in the week of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. That document saw all parties commit to exclusively democratic and peaceful means. It must be devastating for the loved ones of victims of violence to hear Gerry Adams now claim murder, destruction and devastation was justified in his eyes.

“Mr Adams needs to show leadership reflecting on his comments, condemning all violence without equivocation, acknowledging only dialogue leads to progress and recognising violence does nothing but harm the community we live in. As a society, we have an obligation to ensure the peaceful benefits of the Good Friday Agreement are not lost and there will never be a return to violence.”

Ireland's Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan also criticized Adams' comments.

"I’m neither shocked nor surprised at Gerry Adams statement from a party that has always eschewed democratic norms," he said.

"It is however unacceptable any time but especially on 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement."