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IRA 'considering' Adams appeal

Northern Ireland
Sinn Fein

(CNN) -- The IRA says it is giving "due consideration" to Gerry Adams' appeal that it fully embrace politics and abandon the armed struggle, the UK's Press Association reports.

In a brief statement released to PA under the IRA's pen name of P O'Neill, the organization said: "The leadership of the IRA was given notice of the appeal by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

"We have noted his comments. The IRA will give his appeal due consideration and will respond in due course."

Adams appealed Wednesday to the IRA to make a "historic" decision to use "purely political and democratic activity" to achieve its goals.

In a short speech addressed to the IRA leadership and to what he called the men and women who are the "volunteer soldiers" of the IRA, Adams said there is now an alternative to armed struggle.

Adams said that while he had previously defended the IRA's right to use arms, there was a now an alternative -- "to build political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and win support for those goals internationally."

"I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the leadership (of the IRA) to fully embrace and accept this alternative," he said.

Adams did not -- as he had been urged to do by the Irish and British governments -- directly call for the IRA to disband, but he called on the men and women who are members to the IRA to become "activists in a nationalist movement."

Sinn Fein has been reeling after a series of developments, including the refusal of the IRA to provide photographic proof of its arms decommission and accusations the IRA was involved in a multimillion-dollar bank robbery.

This year IRA members allegedly killed a man in a pub fight, prompting its leadership to tell the sisters of the victim, Robert McCartney, that it would shoot those IRA members if they wanted.

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