All-Ireland body `on the cards'

THE former Irish Premier, Albert Reynolds, came under fierce attack last night after claiming Britain and the Republic were close to agreeing a proposal for a north-south body.

He claimed it would have executive powers and would be drawn from representatives in Dublin and some future parliament in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist MPs were outraged and there was criticism as well from politicians in the Republic. The all-Ireland body, according to Mr Reynolds, is among proposals in a new framework document which will form the basis of neogotiations once parties begin full negotiations on the province's future.

It is due to be published early next year, and is expected to be discussed when John Major meets the new Irish Premier, John Bruton, in London next week. The Ulster Unionist MP, Ken Maginnis, accused Mr Reynolds of "destructive dialogue" and seeking to weave a web of suspicion by giving the IRA the impression that an "embryo united Ireland" was within reach.

The Democratic Unionist Party leader, Reverend Ian Paisley, demanded a full explanation from Mr Major. He claimed the agreement was designed to edge Northern Ireland out of the UK: "Reynolds' comments, taken with all the other concessions so far handed out to Dublin, IRA/Sinn Fein and the SDLP, show that the Union is in the greatest possible danger."

Mr Reynolds, speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics programme, also said Government demands for the destruction of all guns before the start of negotiations with Sinn Fein could threaten the IRA ceasefire.

Substantive talks involving Republicans and British ministers should begin now and troops should be taken off the streets, he urged. He said Downing Street's precondition that weapons be handed in or destroyed could seriously threaten the ceasefire.

"The three months is up. Talks about talks will not find a solution. Everyone accepts that there has to be a destruction of weapons on both sides. It's unrealistic to set it down as a precondition," he said.

Civil servants and Sinn Fein will meet for more exploratory dialogue at Stormont tomorrow, when the issue of guns and explosives is likely to be raised once again.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before