Irish PM plays down fears of loyalist violence

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The Independent Online
The Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, yesterday played down fears of the upsurge of loyalist violence spreading into the Irish Republic, writes Alan Murdoch.

Earlier he echoed the Ulster Unionist leader James Molyneaux's remarks that loyalist paramilitaries could be accommodated in the peace process if they laid down their arms.

Mr Reynolds believes the loyalist campaign is now 'pro-active', as opposed to merely responding to republican violence. He called on all Unionist politicians with influence in loyalist circles to urge them to end their attacks.

Dublin is now putting strong pressure on the IRA to suspend activities while republicans consider the British clarification of the Downing Street declaration, hoping a temporary ceasefire may then become permanent. Speaking at a weekend European election meeting of his Fianna Fail party in Castlebar, Co Mayo, prior to the Dublin attack, Mr Reynolds insisted nothing remained in the way of both sets of paramilitaries adopting a permanent ceasefire.

Mr Reynolds is expected to deliver another speech on the peace process when he addresses the Oxford Union on Friday night during a three-day visit to Britain.