GOVERNMENTS 'IN DENIAL'
A series of meetings are to take place tomorrow in Belfast in the
latest attempt to resuscitate the peace process in the North of
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and 26-County Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern are due to fly in for talks on the continuing failure to
implement the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
The formal review of the Agreement had been expected to be
completed by Easter, but there have been few signs of progress in
talks held earlier this month in both Belfast and London.
Sinn Fein's European election candidate in the Six Counties,
Bairbre de Brun, said both governments had to face up to their
own failure to honour commitments under the Agreement.
"Six years ago, the British government committed itself to a
programme of demilitarisation and we have seen little progress,"
the West Belfast Assembly member said, following a meeting with
British Minister John Spellar.
"In fact communities are still blighted by the presence of the
"My colleague Gerry Kelly told the minister today in north
Belfast they are still seeing foot patrols despite a commitment
that that would not be the case while my other colleague Conor
Murphy reported the British Army is actually building new masts
in south Armagh.
"There are commitments still to be delivered on policing,
justice, on on-the-runs, in the Irish language, equality and
human rights, on the release of the Cory Report.
"There has also been a singular focus on republican
paramilitarism when unionist paramilitaries have been responsible
for more violence and communities are under attack. The British
government seems to be in denial of this fact."
British officials said the summit was an attempt to "inject
momentum" into the process as politicians return from their
annual St Patrick's Day outings to the U.S. and elsewhere.
Nnionist hardliner Ian Paisley called on the two Prime
Ministers to show they were serious about ending all
activity by the IRA.
"The time for words is over," the DUP leader
declared. "Now is the time for them to demonstrate to Sinn
Fein/IRA that the threat of terror will no longer buy them
The IMC, a four-member commission which monitors paramilitary
ceasefires are to make their first report at Easter. Their
report is to include an examination of the alleged attempted
abduction and beating of Belfast dissident republican Bobby
Tohill last month, which has fuelled demands for Sinn Fein to be
expelled from the talks.
The controversial incident has been denied by Mr Tohill himself,
who described it as a pub brawl, and by the mainstream IRA, who
said they had not authorised any such action.
Speaking in Canada, the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, has
said the DUP will have to share power with his party if they want
to be part of a devolved government in the North.
In Calgary, Mr Adams said the DUP would have to engage in direct
dialogue with Sinn Fein to give young unionists and nationalists
the future they deserved.
The West Belfast MP said while Sinn Fein disagreed with the DUP
on a lot of things, the party respected and acknowledged their
mandate -- but it was up to them to acknowledge Sinn Fein's.