Hopes of an 'imminent' IRA ceasefire dashed

The IRA and Sinn Fein yesterday signalled that a renewal of the IRA cessation is not imminent in the wake of the Anglo-Irish summit which set 10 June as the date for all-party talks in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams described the prospect of a ceasefire in the next few days as "most unlikely". He was speaking after an unusual meeting at which he met IRA leaders in company with the leader of the SDLP, John Hume.

The republican leaders appear, following the summit, to be hovering between rejection and acceptance of its offer of talks. The signs are that the former may be impossible to them, while they are not yet ready for the latter.

An IRA statement, issued after the meeting took refuge in Delphic generalities, making no reference to the possibility of a ceasefire.

It said: "We pointed out to Mr Hume and Mr Adams that the failure by the British government to put in place inclusive negotiations free from preconditions, the abuse of the peace process by the British over 18 months, and the absence of an effective and democratic approach capable of providing an irrevocable momentum towards a just and lasting peace in Ireland were the critical elements which led to the failure, thus far, of the Irish peace process."

John Major last night reacted angrily to the IRA army council's statement, describing it as "pathetic" and a "sick joke". Given the text in Bangkok during his trip to the Far East, the Prime Minister declared: "For 25 years the IRA have murdered and bombed. The people of Northern Ireland will be fed up to the back teeth and it is time they realised that democracy will go on with or without them."

An intensive round of talks is due to start in Belfast on Monday. Sinn Fein is to have input into these via meetings with senior government officials, but unless an IRA ceasefire is declared in the meantime it will not be permitted to meet ministers. The focus, and the pressure, is at the moment on the IRA, since all other shades of nationalist opinion have given enthusiastic support to the Anglo-Irish communique. Mr Adams, questioned about the prospects for a ceasefire, yesterday answered: "If you'r e saying to me, do I think that will happen tonight or tomorrow night or the next night, I think it's most unlikely." The accounts of the meeting between Mr Hume, Mr Adams and the IRA are interesting in that they all presented Mr Adams as aligning himself with Mr Hume in appealing for a resumption of the peace process. The IRA said: "We listened attentively to the case presented by both leaders and noted their shared commitment to restoring the peace process." Mr Hume said Mr Adams had recommended a return to the ceasefire and a cessation of violence. Mr Adams confirmed he had made it clear to the IRA that he wanted a restoration of the ceasefire. He said: "I spelled out my sadness and regret that the ceasefire had ended, and they spelled out their very frank and firm reasons for ending it. I reiterat ed my commitment to rebuilding the ceasefire." The IRA for its part appears in no hurry to respond in detail to the summit. While the pressure is considerable, it clearly does not regard Monday's talks as a deadline which it should scramble to meet. Its real deadline is probably 10 June, the date set for the opening of all-party talks. If a new ceasefire is to happen it could be declared at any point between now and then.

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: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

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
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003