Meetings continue in effort to patch up peace process

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, is to meet with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowan, in Belfast today in yet further efforts to patch up the Northern Ireland peace process.

The British government in particular is under pressure to reveal whether or not elections scheduled for May 29 will go ahead.

Last night at midnight the Northern Ireland Assembly was officially dissolved to make way for the elections.

However, it appears that Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has satisfactorily answered two of the three key questions posed to the IRA by British prime minister Tony Blair last week. Though goverment officials have said that more needs to be heard about the willingness of the IRA to cease paramilitary activities, an official spokesperson for Mr Blair described the statement as a “significant advance”.

On Sunday Mr Adams sought to further reassure the governments that the IRA statement was one of “peaceful intent”.

However, Ulster Unionists remain highly sceptical branding the IRA statement as one that “fell short” of what was required. Lagan Valley UUP MP Jeffery Donaldson declared that the IRA was effectively holding the two governments “hostage”.

Later today at Downing Street, Mr Blair is expected to give a briefing about how the government intends to carry the process forward.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

03 November 2009
Dissident Detained Leaving English Jail
An alleged police informer jailed for handling republican terrorist explosives has been arrested while leaving an English prison. Dissident Paddy Murray is being detained by PSNI detectives, with the support of English forces. The 47-year-old former IRA prisoner was handed a 25-year sentence in 1994 for possession of explosives.
04 September 2009
'Victims' Wing It To Scotland
The contentious issue of dealing with the NI Troubles' legacy is to be discussed - across the Irish Sea. A Scottish hotel has been chosen for a meeting of almost 30 victims and relatives of those hurt in the Troubles to discuss the needs of those affected during decades of violence.
28 July 2008
Republican Threat Level 'Higher Than Any Other'
The threat to the UK from 'dissident' Irish republicans is greater than from any other terrorist group. According to the latest intelligence service surveillance from MI5, organisations such as the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA currently pose a greater danger than even Islamic extremists.
18 April 2003
Adams claims IRA response is ‘unparalleled’
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has told a meeting of party members that the IRA statement issued to the British and Irish governments contained elements that were “unparalleled” in republican history. Mr Adams attending a meeting held in a Newry hotel maintained that the IRA statement was both “clear and unambiguous”.
24 April 2003
Elections will go ahead on schedule says Murphy
Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly are still on schedule to take place on May 29, the Secretary of State Paul Murphy has said.