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?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?