Adams tells of grief after LVF killing

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The Independent Online
The weekend drive-by killing by loyalist gunmen of a relative of the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, has cast a shadow over the reopening of multi-party talks at Stormont today.

Mr Adams spoke emotionally yesterday of the death of Terry Enwright, who was married to his niece. He was shot by loyalists as he worked as a doorman outside a city-centre club in the early hours of yesterday.

The club is owned by the sister-in-law of David Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist party.

While the killing is not expected to disrupt the talks, it and other recent events may well have an unsettling effect on proceedings.

Responsibility for the killing was claimed by the Loyalist Volunteer Force, the breakaway group founded by Billy Wright, who was shot dead in the Maze prison just after Christmas. Loyalists have now killed almost a score of people since the beginning of last year.

Another source of doubt and uncertainty in the talks has been the persistence of newspaper reports that Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, and the Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble, have reached a large measure of agreement on Northern Ireland's future.

At the weekend, nationalists accused Unionists of leaking a highly-distorted picture of the terms of any future settlement. The reports concentrated on the establishment of a new assembly in Belfast together with the creation of a "council of the islands" to link not just London, Belfast and Dublin but also Scotland and Wales. Nationalists complained that the reports omitted the central concern of Dublin and the moderate nationalist SDLP, which is the establishment of a substantial new north-south body.

Tony Blair, speaking in Tokyo, was noticeably upbeat about the prospects for progress. He said there were a lot of discussions going on and he believed the Government was quite close to gaining agreement on the main elements. He said: "I am very keen to keep to the May deadline. And I believe that, once we get that breakthrough ... then I've got a feeling you can move it on quite quickly from there. We're going to push it forward."

The man killed in Belfast was Terry "Junior" Enwright, 28, who died after being hit in the chest by gunmen who opened fire from a car outside the Space club beside St Anne'scathedral. He is survived by two children.

Gerry Adams said of him: "This young man was a valued member of this community. He was married to a niece of mine, but that should not be used as an excuse for killing him. He was heavily involved in community affairs and with young people."

Another tribute came from Billy Hutchinson, a Progressive Unionist colleague of David Ervine's, who was a friend of the dead man. He said: "I'm gutted. I am just at rock bottom."

The Progressive Unionist Party, political wing of the Ulster Volunteer Force, announced last night that it would return to talks.