John Reid, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, sought to step up the pressure on republicans before a visit by Tony Blair to Belfast today by declaring that the IRA's ceasefire was "not enough".
Amid a flurry of allegations levelled at the Provisionals and signs that the peace process is coming under intense strain, Mr Reid urged them to signal their war had ended.
"The IRA ceasefire has helped create the basis of trust on which the Agreement was reached and in a sense why so much progress has been made," he told MPs at Northern Ireland Question Time. "However, and it is a large however, the hard fact is that four years after the Belfast Agreement, a ceasefire is not enough."
Unionists have become deeply sceptical of the IRA's commitment to peace because of accusations that it trained Colombian rebels and stole Special Branch files during a break-in at the Castlereagh police complex in east Belfast. Claims that the IRA had compiled intelligence dossiers on leading Conservatives and were behind the murder of a Catholic taxi-driver in Co Tyrone have fuelled mistrust. Mr Reid said the break-in at Castlereagh was a "matter of grave concern". The police had reassured him the IRA's ceasefire was intact, he told MPs.
"If there is to be confidence that there is a wholehearted commitment to exclusively peaceful means, we need to see an end to paramilitary attacks, to targeting and to any other such preparations. In a sense we all truly need to have the sense that the war is over," he said.
* A television producer handed over notes of interviews with British soldiers to the Saville inquiry into the 14 deaths during Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.
Lena Ferguson, now a BBC executive in Belfast, produced edited notes of the interviews yesterday but deleted references that could have identified the servicemen. She and Alex Thomson, who produced a series of news reports on Bloody Sunday for Channel 4, are under pressure to identify the soldiers.Reuse content