Hurd joins forces with Mayhew in plea to Sinn Fein: Ulster's future 'rests on self-determination'

THE Government yesterday launched one of its most persuasive appeals yet to Northern Ireland republicans to end violence - four days before Sinn Fein holds its first full party conference since the Anglo-Irish declaration.

Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, and Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, yesterday joined forces to urge Sinn Fein - which holds its Ard Fheis in Dublin this weekend - to take advantage of the two governments' pledge that the province's future would be decided by 'self- determination.' In a lengthy and carefully worded speech which was said in Whitehall to amount - in all but name - to the 'clarification' that Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, has been demanding from the British government, Sir Patrick emphasised British neutrality on the long-term future of Northern Ireland.

Using language designed to appeal directly to republican opinion, Sir Patrick argued that advocacy of the declaration by Albert Reynolds, the Irish Taoiseach, 'in no way departed from the classic nationalist position that the partition of Ireland was wrong'.

Instead, Sir Patrick argued in a speech in Birmingham, Mr Reynolds had been saying that 'holding the view that partition was wrong in 1920-21 could not justify trying to achieve Irish unity by force 70 years later. It had to be worked for peacefully, and achieved by consent. That was what he was saying.'

Sir Patrick strongly rejected appeals from within both communities to be 'persuaders' for one outcome or another in the process of negotiations. Instead, he said, the British government would encourage both sides to 'prefer agreement to disagreement'.

Sir Patrick emphasised that the 'most striking and historic feature of the declaration', particularly from the nationalist point of view, was 'its explicit treatment of the principle of self-determination'.

He repeated that Britain had no 'economic or strategic concerns which would lead us selfishly to stymie the people's exercise of their free political will'. And he said the North-South joint institutions, which were envisaged as part of talks that would go ahead with or without Sinn Fein, 'could take on an increasingly dynamic role'.

Mr Hurd said 97 per cent of the people in Ireland had supported the declaration when it was issued, according to market research.

It had the backing of Unionists, of nationalist leaders in Northern Ireland and the Republic, and of President Bill Clinton. Only Sinn Fein had given no response, Mr Hurd said, adding: 'There are no good reasons for further delay.'

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

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
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
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