Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC News Front Page | World | In depth | Northern Ireland

The search for peace
Hume-Adams statement
April, 1993
Profiles Themes
• Gerry Adams
• John Hume

• Powersharing
Hume-Adams statement
• Direct rule
• Sunningdale Agreement
• Downing Street Declaration

• Sinn Fein
Events Parties and paramilitaries
Piece together the puzzle of the Northern Ireland conflict by clicking the related subjects above.

• Loyalist reaction
• Republican reaction

Hume-Adams statement

John Hume, Gerry Adams

A statement from John Hume and Gerry Adams in April 1993 marked the beginning of a new nationalist strategy. The declaration argued that the Irish people as a whole had a right to self-determination.

SDLP leader John Hume believed that the key to peace lay in persuading the IRA to give up arms and work through its political wing, Sinn Fein. He believed that the British government was now much more prepared to negotiate over the future of Northern Ireland from a position of neutrality, accepting the principle that it was for its people to find a consensus. But he also knew that the IRA would only give up guns if the British government created an environment that would allow them to do so.

The talks began in 1988 when John Hume initiated a series of private discussions with the Sinn Fein leader. The talks were slow-going and in the meantime IRA violence continued. But the resulting statement showed that the balance had tipped towards political negotiation. It accepted that unionists would be taken into account in any political settlement. Unionists, in return, would need to accept a principle of Irish self-determination.

Sinn Fein was now arguing that Britain should join the "persuaders" in the search for peace. The nationalists' task was to persuade those who opposed them that a united island was indeed the way forward.

While London rejected the Hume-Adams position as being too closely aligned with one community, it did play a vital role in the momentum that led to the Downing Street Declartion.

Unbeknown to all at the time of the Hume-Adams, the British government and the republicans had already been exchanging views through an intermediary.

To explore developments in the search for peace,
select a subject in a pull-down menu and click Go.

^^ Back to Top
 © MMV | News Sources | Privacy