Blair signals move on Sinn Fein talks

Deepening gloom as marching impasse nears

Tony Blair is to make an important statement on Northern Ireland next week, it emerged yesterday, amid deepening gloom over the prospects for further violence and disorder during the marching season.

Mr Blair is to speak on the prospects of involving Sinn Fein in political talks in the event of a new IRA ceasefire, the outlook for the marching season and the prospects for progress in multi-party talks.

But he will be well aware that in the space of a few weeks the atmosphere of hope generated by his arrival as prime minister has been displaced by one of steadily increasing foreboding.

This was reflected yesterday by Mo Mowlam, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who said of the impending marches: "I think the majority of people are fearful. I think both communities are quite scared of what could happen. But there's no doom in this camp: we will keep going to the end because I believe that in the end common sense has a chance of working through."

There was little cheer however from Ronnie Flanagan, the RUC chief constable, who cautioned that these were "dangerous times." He said his information was that the IRA was planning further acts of violence in the wake of the killings of two of his constables in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

He described as "distinctly unhelpful" the applications from Orange lodges in various parts of Belfast to stage a series of processions in the days immediately following the key Drumcree march on July 6th. The applications are generally seen as an ominous warning that if the Drumcree march is not allowed through, the RUC will be deliberately placed at full stretch by having to police a plethora of demonstrations.

Co Armagh Orangemen yesterday warned in a letter to Mr Blair: "If the parade is banned, moderate Orange national and local leadership will be discredited and our influence destroyed. Drumcree is a very emotional issue for us - we have no ground left to give."

Meanwhile, a renewed menace from Protestant paramilitary organisations was evident yesterday in a loyalist attempt to kill a Sinn Fein councillor in Ballycastle, Co Antrim. A device found under a car owned by James McCarry contained 1.5lbs of explosives.

The Rev Ian Paisley did little to lower the temperature by claiming that the largely disused Crumlin Road prison in Belfast was being prepared for the mass arrests of loyalists during the marching season.

Meanwhile among nationalists, the sense of puzzlement over what the IRA hoped to achieve by killing the two policemen persisted. The Andersonstown News, a weekly newspaper serving an area of West Belfast where Sinn Fein gains by far the largest vote, headlined its editorial "Bewildered and confused by killings." It said this described the mood of nationalist Belfast after the shootings.

n The RUC said last night that a security operation was under way to investigate reports that a body had been spotted at Mayobridge near Newry, Co Down. The area was cordoned off. A spokesman said police and troops might not move in until this morning because of the possibility of booby traps.

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing & Commnunications Executive, London

£30000 - £34000 per annum: Charter Selection: This highly successful organisat...

C# .NET Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript HTML, CSS) Finance

£60000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...

MI Analyst-Reporting-Bank-Edinburgh-£260/day

£230 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: MI Analyst-Reporting-Bank-Edinburgh...

Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS, Crystal rep

£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment