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16 October 2014
BBC NI - Eyewitness

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Political Voices - Gerry Adams is President of Sinn Fein and MLA and MP for west Belfast Gerry Adams

BBC Presenter: Well, our reporter Mike Leigh also spoke to the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams on the Ardoyne road this morning. He began by asking Mr Adams if he has any sympathy for the Glenbryn residents' sense of isolation.

I can understand, and I am always mindful that some people may see what I am going to say now as patronising: that Unionism, for a very long time, was given the illusion that it had the power, that it was the top dog. Now I know that was only an illusion, it has been told for decades by its own leaders that it was being sold out, that the papists were going to take over. I can understand when there is a process of change - because essentially what the Good Friday agreement is about, is about change.

You can sense that feeling of insecurity and isolation in this Glenbryn estate?

There is a siege mentality. It is within the nature of Unionism that this is the case, say, you know, on the island of Ireland they are a minority, even though they are a majority, even in North Belfast. I mean, the MP for this area is a DUP man. There's still that sense of insecurity, of being under siege, of all the time being in retreat. And I do think, especially Irish republicans have to understand, empathise with that and try and get inside the heads and be open to the fears and the grievances. Now it used to be, it used to be I was told that what I was saying of this nature, wasn't being heard above the sound of the bombs or the bullets, that there needed to be a silence so that people could interact. Now the only bombs exploding now are loyalist bombs.

Would you have taken your child up the Ardoyne road in the last few days, especially at the height of the trouble on Tuesday and Wednesday?

Well first of all I have to say that it's a parental judgement, and each parent has to take that decision on their own. And I don't want anything that I may say to be seen as a judgement on that, but yes.

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