Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD said today that Republican dissidents have upped their campaign against the community.

And he said that Sinn Féin has consistently called on these groups to stop their actions and enter into dialogue.

Gerry Adams said:

“Over the past week Féile an Phobail has showcased the very best of the community of West Belfast. There have been concerts, sports events and exhibitions. There has been considerable debate on our past, our present and our future. I commend the Féile and congratulate them on their success.

“West Belfast also hosted the National Hunger Strike Commemoration, which brought thousands of Republicans from across Ireland and abroad to remember and celebrate the sacrifice and vision of the hunger strikers.

“Over the same period people associated with dissident Republican groups have sought to intimidate community workers and mural artists, have picketed the Féile office and defaced Hunger Strike Commemoration posters.

“Some of those involved in these groups are heavily involved in criminality. And while the majority of their attacks and threats have been against members of the nationalist community they have also killed and injured police and prison officers.

“Recently they have sought to promote confrontation at interfaces and on the issue of marching.

“It now appears they are also seeking to heighten confrontation with the community.

“These groups are entitled to oppose Sinn Féin, however their campaign against the community must end.

“I would appeal to those involved to end their futile violent campaign, which is going nowhere. It causes hardship and loss for families, including prisoners’ families.

“Sinn Féin believes in the centrality and importance of dialogue. We are willing to meet with these groups and lay out our strategy and vision for the future. If these groups had any integrity they would enter into dialogue with us.”

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