In 2002, Declan Kearney, a leading Belfast republican, gave a speech in which he spoke of the need for republicans to show ‘flexibility with tactics’ as they sought to travel the ‘Road Map to the Republic’. The republican struggle, Kearney claimed, ‘needed to be strategically driven at all times’ and ‘based on the reality of the existing situation’.1 In such fashion, Kearney succinctly captured the underlying attitude of the Adams-McGuinness leadership of the republican movement, as expressed over the previous two and a half decades. Repeatedly, that leadership had demonstrated a willingness and ability to modify its strategy, in order to meet the demands of what Gerry Adams labelled ‘objective realities’.2 Consequently, this was a period in which the character of the republican movement was transformed utterly.
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