04/07/2002

Parties heckled at Hillsborough talks

The SDLP, Sinn Féin and the Ulster Unionist Party all came under verbal attack from a handful of loyalist protestors today as they arrived to take part in crisis talks at Hillsborough Castle.

The pro-agreement parties met the Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern separately for talks about the current lack of confidence in the peace process.

As David Trimble arrived loyalist protesters stood outside displaying banners describing him as a traitor.

As the SDLP delegation arrived it too was taunted by the small crowd as it entered the talks venue in County Down.

Meanwhile as the Sinn Féin delegation led by Gerry Adams arrived, there were chants of “murdering scum”.

The current crisis talks were requested by Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble in order to highlight unionist concerns over the validity of the IRA ceasefire and Sinn Féin’s role in the power-sharing government.

Unionist concerns centre on allegations: that the IRA tested weapons in Colombia while training Marxist rebels; were behind the break-in at a top security police station; orchestrated street violence in Belfast and had a hit-list of judges, politicians, forensic scientists, police and Army.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin who has denied the allegations, blame loyalists for the interface violence and accuse elements within the security services of making false claims about republicans in an attempt to destabilise the peace process.

All the parties are expected to sit together later this evening for final round table talks once separate discussions have ended.

(AMcE)


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

05 May 2021
L'Derry Sinn Fein MLAs Will Not Stand For Party At Next Assembly Election
Sinn Fein MLAs Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan will not stand for the party at the next assembly election. The decision was made after a party review revealed election disappointments in L'Derry.
02 December 2020
Taxi Drivers In Urgent Need Of Financial Help
All taxi drivers urgently need to be able to access Covid-19 financial supports grants, Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson. The Foyle MLA continued: "Taxi drivers who have been excluded from a COVID-19 grant scheme from the Department for Infrastructure are crying out for financial support.
25 May 2006
NI political parties invited to join 'devolution' committee
The Northern ireland Secretary of State, Peter Hain, has today invited the main political parties to sit on an Assembly Committee in a bid to restore devolution. It is understood that each of the main parties, the DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and SDLP, will be given three places on the panel, with the Alliance party being given two.
27 January 2006
Political parties to meet with US envoy
The US special envoy for Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, is to today begin talks with political parties on possible ways to restore devolution.
03 August 2001
Mayor of Belfast hold cross community talks
Political leaders on the Belfast City Council have called for an end to violence on the streets of the city. A meeting was called by the new Lord Mayor of Belfast Jim Rodgers in an attempt to find a solution to the recent upsurge in violence most notably in north Belfast.