26/10/2004

DUP and Sinn Fein hold talks with government

Senior members of the DUP and Sinn Fein have been in London today to discuss the current political deadlock in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and party colleague Martin McGuinness met with British and Irish Government officials while the DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson was involved in separate talks.

A Sinn Fein spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that the “party leadership is involved in ongoing intensive efforts to break the logjam in the peace process”.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams called on both governments to make it clear to the DUP that London and Dublin would move ahead with the process if Ian Paisley’s party “do not agree to move forward with the rest of the parties”.

"It is now five weeks on from Leeds Castle, it is four months on from Lancaster House and it is a full year since the Assembly elections,” the West Belfast MP said. “The two governments need to be telling the DUP that they are not prepared to wait any longer but are moving ahead with the process."

Meanwhile, DUP Leader, Dr Ian Paisley, today held a meeting with the Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, where he called for the immediate removal of Dennis Bradley as vice chairman of the policing Board following comments made yesterday regarding nationalist support for the PSNI.

Speaking on Monday morning, Denis Bradley said nationalists may have to reconsider their involvement in policing if the stalemate goes on and that if the political problems were not resolved within two weeks, the governments should impose joint authority or another mechanism other than direct rule.

"If a police officer was killed somewhere within the next couple of months - within that vacuum - I think that policing could be set back for a long period of time," he said.

Responding before today’s meeting with Mr Murphy, Dr Paisley said: “No wonder IRA/Sinn Fein supported Mr Bradley for he gave them very real support for their campaign to destroy Northern Ireland’s Police Service. His remarks are of a most serious nature and certainly would invite the dissident republicans and others to murder policemen and members of the Board.

“If any unionist member of the Board had made such statements and gave such encouragement to so-called loyalist terrorists, he would have been drummed out of the Board immediately."

(MB/SP)

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