Dublin piles on pressure for end to IRA violence

SINN FEIN yesterday confirmed it will hold its long-awaited conference this weekend to decide its response to the Downing Street Declaration.

The announcement precipitated intense Irish government pressure on the IRA to deliver a permanent cessation of violence rather than the widely predicted three-month temporary ceasefire.

A spokesman for Albert Reynolds, the Taoiseach, stressed: 'The republican movement must understand a three- month ceasefire is not something we would welcome. It is absolutely imperative they go for a permanent end to

violence.' The official Irish view is that a temporary ceasefire will lead only to more and more pressure on republicans from both Irish and American sources, whereas 'all things would start to follow' if a final end to the IRA campaign were declared. 'This is the high-water mark for them (the Provisionals). They should really grab it and say it's over.'

Dublin is deeply concerned that the Provisionals may raise the political temperature before a temporary ceasefire with Heathrow-type 'spectaculars', leaving a 'calling card' warning of a potential threat.

The Irish government is also aware of the danger a temporary ceasefire would pose to its plan for a forum for national reconciliation, which would allow Sinn Fein an entry into constitutional politics. 'You don't get into a forum on that basis. You would know that on a given night they're going to come back with a bang. The Irish government would look like they're conniving with madmen,' a government spokesman said.

Earlier, Dublin responded with annoyance to the call from Sir Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, for it to abandon its constitutional claim to sovereignty over the whole island.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph yesterday he said there 'has got to be something much more positive than a broad assertion from Dublin if Unionists are going to have their fears allayed. What Unionists are looking for . . . is an abandonment of the (Irish) territorial claim expressed in terms that don't need a lawyer to tease out the true meaning.'

The Irish Foreign Minister, Dick Spring, said he was surprised at Sir Patrick's comments, emphasising that last Friday's meeting in Brussels between John Major and Mr Reynolds showed both hoped to achieve 'a balanced accommodation within a matter of months'.

Dublin sources warned of the danger of anticipating the result of an Irish constitutional referendum to amend the claim without balancing changes to the Government of Ireland Act, which underpins British control of Ulster.

Mr Reynolds said yesterday: 'What we're seeking is a balanced constitutional amendment as expressed in the (Downing Street) peace declaration, not some constitutional one-way street.' The Taoiseach firmly believes the Irish electorate will back amendments to the claim only in return for a clear quid pro quo from the British side. Senior Irish sources said it would be disastrous if an ill-prepared proposal was rejected.

The demands set out by Sir Patrick were reinforced by Downing Street, increasing the difficulties between Dublin and London over agreeing a formula for a long-term settlement.

The two governments have had to postpone the production of a framework document on the future of Northern Ireland until the autumn, because of difficulties over the Irish territorial claim.

A British government source said: 'It has to be one which is satisfactory to Dublin and satisfactory to London. It is a statement of the plainest common sense. Sir Patrick was laying out the Unionists' demand that it is essential that the territorial claim is modified.

'We are not saying that Dublin does not have requirements as well. It is for Dublin to state its requirement and for London to state its requirements.'

Pub attack, page 2

Letters, page 15

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Supervisor

£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Store Sales Executive

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Sales Executive ...

Recruitment Genius: Night Porters - Seasonal Placement

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Night Porters are required to join a family-ow...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn