Murder of soldier dims Ulster hopes

HOPES FOR an end to terrorist violence in Northern Ireland fell away last night after an IRA sniper killed a soldier in south Armagh.

The 22-year-old soldier was the first person to be murdered in Northern Ireland since the Downing Street peace declaration two weeks ago. He died in hospital after being shot while on patrol in the border village of Crossmaglen.

He was the ninth member of the security forces killed in sniper attacks on the border in the past two years and the 84th terrorist killing in Northern Ireland in 1993.

The shooting in Crossmaglen prompted angry reactions in London and Belfast. The Northern Ireland security minister, Sir John Wheeler, describing it as a 'wicked crime', said: 'It particularly grieves me at this time when so many people in Northern Ireland - indeed the whole of these islands - are yearning for peace and there is a real opportunity for peace.'

Seamus Mallon, MP for south Armagh and SDLP deputy leader, said the murder posed serious questions about the IRA's sincerity in claiming it was considering the declaration by John Major and Albert Reynolds, the Irish Prime Minister. 'To have murdered so callously at a time when the prospects for peace are being explored does nothing but bring a wave of despair to the entire community.'

David Trimble, Ulster Unionist MP for Upper Bann, said the IRA had had enough time to consider the deal and called on Mr Major to take action. 'It is time for him to make clear he will not be strung along by terrorists any further and the way he can do that is by an adequate security response'.

The IRA is expected to respond officially to the Downing Street declaration next month, but despite statements from Mr Major and Mr Reynolds that no negotiations will happen until there is a permanent end to violence, Sinn Fein and the IRA appear to be holding out to try for concessions.

Mr Mallon, who said he had seen the declaration and an earlier agreement between John Hume, SDLP leader, and Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president, said there was little, if any, difference between the two. If the IRA were citing differences as reasons for maintaining the violence that was 'spurious'.

The IRA claimed it had devised a new armour-piercing mortar projectile. One soldier suffered arm wounds after two patrols in Belfast were attacked yesterday. Bombs hit a library and the soldier was struck by shrapnel.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee