DUP boycotts talks
Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party boycotted a talks-about-talks
process hosted by the British and Irish governments at Hillsbrorough
Castle on Monday.
The party described them as a sham "to present the idea of some sort
process under way".
Referring to the party's recent dossier of demands, MP Nigel Dodds said
both governments were aware of the party's position on the issues and
"know what is needed to create unionist confidence".
"What we're about is the real business of meeting with government
ministers from Tony Blair and Peter Hain down, on a regular basis,"
the party's Nigel Dodds.
Dublin's Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern and British Direct Ruler
Peter Hain played down the DUP's absence at Hillsborough Castle today,
and pointed to the forthcoming bilateral talks.
Among the issues said to be under discussion on Monday were parades,
policing and restorative justice.
Mr Ahern and Mr Hain had invited the DUP, Sinn Fein and the PUP to
separate talks today as part of a series of "stock-taking" meetings
the main players in the peace process.
Mr Hain said it was the DUP's own business whether it attended or not
and he and Mr Ahern were relaxed about the party's snub.
News of the DUP's refusal to take part came just hours after Sinn Fein
accused the unionist party of failing to show "real political
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness yesterday said the DUP had blocked a
return to devolution for far too long.
Speaking at a republican commemoration in Edentubber, County Louth, Mr
McGuinness challenged DUP leader Ian Paisley to "come clean"
attitude to re-entering the power sharing institutions.
He said that last year, the two governments made it clear to Sinn Fein
that Ian Paisley had indicated to them that the only obstacle to a
return to the power sharing institutions was the issue of arms.
"The IRA have decisively dealt with that issue," said Mr McGuinness.
is no longer an issue for the process. Is Ian Paisley now going to step
up to the mark? Is Ian Paisley going to follow through on what he said
to the two governments last year?
" The DUP have sat back for too long. We need to get the political
institutions back up and running. Week by week the Direct Rule
Administration is taking decisions based not on the needs or
requirements of the people but on fiscal considerations in the British
"Are the DUP content to sit back and watch this happen or are they
finally going to stop hiding behind rhetoric and show real political
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein have launched a campaign which aims to raise
awareness of the impact direct rule has had.
The Cost of Direct Rule campaign is centred on the social and economic
factors which have suffered since devolution was suspended in October