IRA Ceasefire: Joy and anger at historic move: Leaders of political and religious groups have given a mixed but often passionate response to yesterday's announcement

JUBILATION, relief, wary optimism, scepticism, disbelief and anger - the IRA's historic ceasefire provoked a predictably wide spectrum of reaction yesterday.

The Ulster Unionist leader James Molyneaux urged Mr Major not to accept the statement because it did not go far enough. Mr Major had 'no option' but to reject the IRA statement until it agreed the halt was permanent.

'He cannot accept it anyway because his declaration actually included that word, deliberately included that word,' he said. The IRA, Mr Molyneaux added, could have a complete cessation until the weekend or until the end of September. The Government could not accept what was said until it was confirmed it was permanent.

The Rev Ian Paisley, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, claimed not a single word in the IRA announcement said it was renouncing violence. 'I don't see in the document any renunciation of violence, I hear the salute to murderers,' he said. 'I see no suggestion whatsoever of a permanent cessation of violence. What we are seeing is a clever Jesuitical expression 'complete cessation of violence' - for how long? Permanent means for ever, complete means only for the time during which that particular situation is accepted.' He called for a referendum to be held on whether the province should remain British and said a civil war in Northern Ireland remained a possibility.

John Hume, the SDLP leader, said: 'When I read the statement I saw it as permanent in that it said they were announcing a complete cessation of their activities. It's a piece of news that will be welcomed by Irish people everywhere, but particularly the people in the streets of Northern Ireland. Now we face the primary challenge, which is to reach agreement among our divided people.'

Tony Blair, the Labour leader, said that, if carried through, the cessation of IRA violence would mark a moment of history in the search for peace in Northern Ireland. 'The test will come in whether the statement's welcome intentions do indeed lead to a permanent renunciation of violence and the full commitment of the IRA to the democratic process.'

Lord Holme, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesman, said: 'Any cessation in the murder and mayhem is very much to be welcomed,' but added: 'We don't yet know whether this is the permanent ceasefire which is really the precondition for the IRA joining the talks.'

The former Labour prime minister Lord Callaghan, who sent British troops into Northern Ireland, called on the Government to reassure the Protestant community to dispel any feelings of insecurity. He said: 'We must recognise that the IRA has been forced to concede it cannot win by the bomb. I thank God I have lived to see the day after 25 years when there is an opportunity to make a new start.'

However, the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) - the umbrella group which includes the outlawed Ulster Freedom Fighters and the Ulster Volunteer Force - said: 'The CLMC wish to make it clear that we will not be dancing to the Pan-nationalist tune . . . Is our constitution being tampered with or is it not? What deals have been done?.'

Dr John Alderdice, leader of the Northern Ireland Alliance Party, which draws its members from both communities, said: 'This is the announcement we have all been waiting for for nearly 25 years now.'

Cardinal Cahal Daly, Archbishop of Armagh and Catholic Primate of All Ireland, said: 'I am sharing in the rejoicing and relief which are surely being felt all over Ireland at the IRA's announcement of a cessation of violence on their part and a definitive commitment to the democratic political process. We humbly thank God who has heard the cry of his people for peace and has given us all this historic opportunity to work for a new future in this island.'

Dr Edward Daly, former Catholic bishop of Derry, said he felt like dancing at the ceasefire announcement. 'We can look forward to a bright future for the next generation and make up for the loss of so many lives that have been lost and ruined.'

Dr Robin Eames, the head of the Church of Ireland, said Northern Ireland was now entering a testing period during which the community would see whether the IRA's words were backed up by their actions.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?