Adams talks of peace as hope of ceasefire grows

THOUSANDS of republicans yesterday marched through Belfast city centre to hear the president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, declare that the peace process had brought them to a crossroads in their history.

He said they wanted conflict in Ireland ended forever: 'All armed actions must end. The prisoners must go free.'

The traditional republican anti-internment march was also designed to mark the 25th anniversary of the arrival of British troops on the streets. It was slightly less well-attended than a similar march several months ago.

Although Mr Adams's speech seemed to break no new ground, the expectation is still widespread that the IRA is on the verge of declaring a substantial ceasefire, probably next month. Republican sources are making little attempt to deflate the near-universal speculation that a ceasefire is on the way.

They say that a meeting between Mr Adams and the leadership of the IRA has left them hopeful that significant movement is possible. But they also caution that certain conditions have yet to be met before everything falls into place.

'Nobody has signed up for anything yet,' one source warned, while declining to elaborate on what the conditions might entail.

The sources are emphatic that there is no contact, direct or indirect, between the republican movement and the British government. But there is no such denial of contacts with the Irish government, and it is widely believed that meetings have taken place between Dublin representatives and Sinn Fein councillors.

One source said: 'There is a lot going on beneath the surface, but it is just far, far too sensitive for us to talk about at the moment. We are cautiously hopeful, though.' In his speech Mr Adams declared: 'We are told Britain has no selfish interest in being here. Well, if Britain has no interests then the British troops must go, the Unionist veto must go, partition must go and all that is unjust and discriminatory must go.'

The RUC said yesterday that a Catholic man shot dead by loyalists early yesterday 'obviously went through hell before he died'. The body of Sean Monaghan, 20, from the Falls district of Belfast, was found gagged and bound in the Shankill area. The RUC said it had been 'a horrendous sectarian murder of a quiet, timid man who lived only for his girlfriend Noelle and their 15-month- old twin daughters'.

A police spokesman described the killers as 'sick, pathetic thugs'. Mr Monaghan, who lived in Albert Street, visited an uncle at Divis Towers on Saturday night but left shortly after midnight.

He had to walk only a short distance to his own home but is thought to have been captured by a gang prepared to kill any Catholic it could abduct.

In a telephone call later to the BBC, the outlawed Ulster Freedom Fighters claimed they had 'executed' a 'republican spy'.

However, the caller named the victim as Sean Mulligan - suggesting that the assassins may not have checked the man's identity.

Alex Attwood, a Belfast SDLP councillor, described the murder as part of a 'highly organised and systematic targeting of Catholics in Belfast'.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings