The call came from Proinsias de Rossa, the senior Cabinet minister who heads the Democratic Left, part of John Bruton's three-party coalition administration. Mr de Rossa said all the pieces were falling into place to move forward the Northern Ireland peace process. But, he added, the crucial missing element was an IRA ceasefire. Mr de Rossa urged Sinn Fein's two new Westminster MPs, the party's leader Gerry Adams and its senior strategist Martin McGuinness, to exert all possible pressure on the IRA to "call an immediate, total and unconditional cessation of all violence".
Speaking ahead of an expected first post-election meeting in London this week between Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Mr Bruton, Mr de Rossa said: "A new Labour government in Britain, with an authoritative political mandate, a new and energetic Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Mo Mowlam, and the impressive mandate won by David Trimble and the Ulster Unionist Party in the elections, are all grounds for optimism."Reuse content