Dublin refuses to pressure IRA

THE IRISH government has ruled out moves to step up its security co-operation with Britain after last week's IRA attacks, despite new calls for a clampdown on terrorism and the introduction of internment.

British requests for military helicopters to be allowed greater freedom to cross the border while on anti-terrorist operations have been rejected at official level by the Irish because of the issue's political sensitivity.

Dublin, which is arguing against any over-reaction to last week's terrorist action, is also opposed to more cross-border co-operation over 'hot pursuit'; increases in its intelligence operations; and to any greater deployment of its security forces close to the border. The Irish government points out that it already spends more per head of population on security than Britain.

Pressure is mounting for tougher action and critics have not been satisfied by a joint statement from John Major and the Irish Prime Minister, Albert Reynolds, on Friday, pledging to 'carry forward the close co- operation on security matters' and to 'continue their intensive efforts to deal with terrorism'.

Senior security officers were yesterday discussing plans to deploy troops with armoured vehicles to patrol British airports for the first time since the Gulf War. In an interview in today's Sunday Express, Mr Major says that the option of internment in Northern Ireland has not been ruled out.

Mr Major says that hardliners may be trying to provoke a break-up of the joint declaration to 'let them off the hook.'

He adds: 'They have seen the dangers of splitting before and I suspect these attacks are to try to reinforce the unity of the movement in some perverse and irrational way so it may be that they are not going to respond directly to the offer that lies before them to give up violence.'

But in the aftermath of last week's mortar attacks on Heathrow airport and of the failure of the IRA to respond to the Downing Street Declaration, the Ulster Unionists and a senior Conservative backbencher yesterday called for the return of internment, north and south of the border. That prospect was categorically rejected by Mr Reynolds last year.

Ken Maginnis, security spokesman for the Ulster Unionists, called for tighter cross-border security and a 'very selective form of internment which would disable the IRA's command structure'. He added: 'If the governments do not look carefully at the likely consequences of blatant defiance by the IRA, there is very little credit due to them.'

Andrew Hunter, chairman of the Conservative backbench Northern Ireland committee, told Radio 4's Today programme: 'We could round up three quarters of the IRA by breakfast tomorrow with internment. It is on the agenda but it does need the support of the Republic of Ireland.'

Last December Mr Reynolds warned of a crackdown if the declaration were to be finally rejected. He said: 'Undoubtedly there would be stiffer security situations. After a period in which such strong support has been expressed by people in both communities for peace, there would be revulsion at a resumption of full-scale violence again.'

But Irish officials now urge caution, emphasising that an over-reaction to the events of last week would play into the hands of the IRA.

Senior British sources said last week that the IRA may be attempting to 'shake our confidence in the joint declaration' through its mortar attacks. But some senior Conservatives are pressing for a wholesale rethink of policy. Backbenchers too are restive at the lack of any British initiative, either on security or on constitutional talks.

One leading Tory said yesterday that the Government's policy had been left in 'limbo' after the show of defiance by the IRA at Heathrow on Thursday and Friday.

The peace process is now seen as dormant, with the IRA apparently intent on continuing the armed struggle and the Ulster Unionists' decision to break off their participation. Ministers believe that, for party political reasons, no progress with the Unionists will be possible before the European elections on 9 June.

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: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

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