Irish Primate praises talks with Sinn Fein: SDLP leader commended for secret meeting with republicans

CARDINAL Cahal Daly, the Catholic Primate of Ireland, and politicians on all sides yesterday welcomed surprise talks between Sinn Fein and the mainly Catholic SDLP aimed at securing a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.

Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, and John Hume, leader of the SDLP, held a secret 90-minute meeting on Saturday after what is believed to have been weeks of preparatory work by a group of Roman Catholic clergymen.

Neither side would discuss the content of the talks yesterday, but their timing is thought to be significant. They come only days after the IRA re-affirmed its commitment to armed struggle in its meeting with the peace campaigner Senator Gordon Wilson; just a month before local elections are due with Sinn Fein support dwindling; and at a time when moves are under way for the resumption of the Northern Ireland peace talks.

After Saturday's meeting in Londonderry, Mr Hume said that he hoped the talks would lead to a renunciation of violence but he added: 'This is only a hope.'

Speaking on BBC radio, Cardinal Daly praised Mr Hume. His party will be in direct competition with Sinn Fein for the nationalist vote next month.

Cardinal Daly said: 'I greatly admire the courage of John Hume in continuing with his work for peace and being prepared to take political risks - quite considerable physical risks - in doing what he's doing.

'I sincerely hope, and thousands hope with me, that it may lead to an end of violence and to peace.'

Kevin McNamara, Labour's spokesman on Northern Ireland, and Peter Temple-Morris, the Conservative co-chairman of the British-Irish Parliamentary Body, welcomed the talks. Each said that they had complete faith in Mr Hume's ability to negotiate with Sinn Fein, but they felt progress would be achieved only over the long term.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP held a series of meetings in the late 1980s, which broke down after they failed to reach agreement on even basic issues. The SDLP argued that British involvement in Northern Ireland was no longer colonial and had moved to a position of neutrality; Sinn Fein considered it an occupation.

Their differences after each meeting were published and widely circulated during that series of talks. Their decision now to keep the contents of meetings secret is a good sign, according to Mr Temple-Morris. 'For Sinn Fein to agree to silence suggests that it is not feeling in a strong position,' he said. 'It has been notoriously weak in getting public backing, so its involvement in the resumption of talks on a private, low-key basis augurs well for a degree of success.'

Sinn Fein chairman Tom Hartley, Mr McNamara and Mr Temple-Morris yesterday rejected a call for the return of internment made by Senator Wilson, whose daughter, Marie, was killed in the 1987 Remembrance Day bombing at Enniskillen.

Mr Wilson, who was devastated when the IRA rejected his peace overtures last week, said in an interview with the Sunday Times that he believed internment was the only alternative to terrorism.

The three said that they respected Senator Wilson's peace efforts but one said the call for internment 'came more from a grieving father than an Irish senator'.

Pearse McCauley, the suspected IRA terrorist, appeared before Dublin's anti-terrorist Special Criminal Court on four firearms charges. Mr McCauley, 28, of Strabane, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, who was arrested at Connolly station, Dublin, on Friday, was remanded in custody and will next appear in court on 21 April.

Suggested Topics
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's pic YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

.Mid Level VB.Net, C# Developer wanted - SURREY - £35k - £40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mid Level VB...

Nuclear Project Planner: Sellafield Sites

£40000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Fuel Card, Healthcare + More: Progressive Rec...

M&E Construction Planning Manager: Surrey

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Car, Pension, Healthcare: Progressive Recruitment:...

M&E Construction Planner Solihull

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star