Attack on RUC man 'linked to terrorist's funeral'

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The Independent Online
PETER VICTOR and

ALAN MURDOCH

The Royal Ulster Constabulary is investigating a gun attack on the home of an off-duty police officer in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Office said it was unaware of any motive for the shooting near the village of Moy, Co Tyrone. The weapon used has been identified as an AK47 assault rifle.

The part-time RUC reservist and his wife, who were in bed at the time, escaped unhurt as armour piercing bullets ripped through walls and windows. No organisation claimed responsibility for the shooting. The RUC said 57 shots were fired, but refused to comment on who was thought responsible.

The shooting is thought to be linked to the funeral of Irish National Liberation Army chief Gino Gallagher, 32, delayed by violent clashes between mourners and police on Thursday. The funeral went ahead yesterday in Belfast after police and organisers agreed a peace deal.

Meanwhile, a new setback loomed in the peace process last night with parties in the Dublin Forum for Peace and Reconciliation unable to agree on a key formula of consent and self-determination which it was hoped might underpin a future political settlement.

Sinn Fein was unable to agree to critical parts of the Forum's report "Paths to a Political Settlement in Ireland", despite deliberations since last May.

Consent is critical to the search for a lasting peace, as there is little hope of securing future Unionist co-operation unless nationalist parties commit themselves to accepting the democratic will of a majority within Northern Ireland.

The Forum report, released last night, says new political arrangements "will have to be ratified by the people of Ireland, North and South".

Dublin government sources said there was no scope for further compromise to secure Sinn Fein backing: "There comes a point where if you water it down any more it's simply not worth it. There is nothing left to discuss."

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