`Concern' over RUC handling of Nelson case

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The Independent Online
THE POLICE Complaints Commission for Northern Ireland has expressed "serious concern" about the way the Royal Ulster Constabulary investigated complaints made by the murdered solicitor Rosemary Nelson, Mo Mowlam disclosed last night.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said in a Commons written answer that the commission registered its concern in its annual report published yesterday after raising it with herself and the RUC Chief Constable, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, last summer.

As a result, the Chief Constable ordered further investigations, the results of which are being forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

With pressure mounting on peace process, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, will today publish an unprecedented joint declaration which puts pressure on the Unionist leader David Trimble to compromise over the demands for arms decommissioning by the IRA before Good Friday.

The three leaders' statement is an attempt to rescue the peace process after the failure to reach a breakthrough in cross-party talks at the White House over the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, yesterday reinforced his warning that he could not deliver on IRA decommissioning, but said there was a possibility of progress if he and Mr Trimble, first minister-designate in the new Northern Ireland Assembly could "jump together".

Mr Adams said Mr Trimble wanted "an event" to show that the IRA was prepared to disarm; he wanted more weapons than the Loyalist Volunteer Force had given up; he wanted it to be done in a clear and visible way; and he wanted detonators, explosives and timers given up as well as small arms.

"I couldn't deliver that," Mr Adams said, and Mr Trimble knew it. "He knows it in his head, he knows it in his heart."

Pressure on Sinn Fein would not work, Mr Adams said. "Sinn Fein doesn't have to buy its ticket twice," he said.

Today's joint communique, issued in Washington, London and Dublin, will take some of the pressure off Mr Adams by making only passing reference to decommissioning, saying General John de Chastelain, head of the decommissioning body, "continues his vital work to achieve progress."

And the communique concludes: "The prize is very great indeed and it is now in sight. We have come too far to go back now. Let us finish the task between now and Good Friday."