Blair signals move on Sinn Fein talks
Deepening gloom as marching impasse nears
Saturday 21 June 1997
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.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: 'No terror link' to Iranian men travelling on stolen passports
Bob Crow death: RMT Union leader dies of massive heart attack aged 52
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering nest of potentially deadly spiders in bananas
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Russell Crowe's Noah banned in three Arab countries before worldwide premiere
- 5 Bob Crow death: RMT Union leader dies of massive heart attack aged 52
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residential...
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED : Reach Volunteering: Fantastic opportuni...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently recruit...