Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said yesterday (Tuesday) that he did not want the internal debate within the IRA to go cold and instead it should be finished as quickly as possible.
Speaking to journalists in west Belfast, he was asked about comments by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern that it could be a few months before republicans responded to Mr Adams' appeal to consider an alternative to armed struggle.
Mr Adams, above right, said he knew that the need for a real, inclusive debate was crucial.
"I know it can't take too long. Apart from anything else, the fact that I have made that call, I don't want it go cold. I want it to be finished as quickly as possible and I also would try very hard to stay away from speculation about the nature of debate and the length of it," he said.
"The IRA, like any other organisation, is very precious about its internal business and its mechanisms and its procedures.
"Having said all of that, I also have no reluctance at all in encouraging a wider debate within nationalism, republicanism and unionism as well.
"I have no reluctance to go and say to people that I want to demonstrate that there is support for the position that I have set out".
Mr Adams was also asked if he would be able to convince unionists that this was not a 'con job'.
"Well, even if we did, would they admit it in the course of an election?" he asked.
"My sense is that thinking unionists know this is a genuine article and is a serious attempt to complete the business of conflict resolution."
He said the election was important as it was about building peace and dealing with the issues outstanding from the Good Friday Agreement.
"It is about all of those other issues which are not being dealt with properly, whether it is health, water charges, education or all of the social and economic issues that press down upon people," he added.