Major given hint of more concessions by Sinn Fein: Downing Street urged to end stalemate over declaration as limited ceasefire begins
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Monday 04 April 1994
With the limited ceasefire due to come into effect at midnight tomorrow both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness called on London to end the present stalemate by agreeing to direct talks with Sinn Fein.
Both used the current republican buzzword - 'potential' - to plant the suggestion that a new situation would result from a decision by John Major to clarify aspects of the Downing Street Declaration.
Mr Major's dismissal of the ceasefire as a cynical exercise has been contradicted by some nationalist leaders. In particular Dr Cahal Daly, the Catholic Primate of All- Ireland, has urged the Government to regard the ceasefire as a genuine effort by the IRA, and to attempt to build on it.
Mr Adams, speaking at a Belfast rally, was at pains to deny that the republican call for clarification was a ploy to get into negotiations. He declared: 'We have questions to ask of London and we require direct dialogue, not protracted deliberations or negotiations.'
There is as yet no public sign of movement from the British side on this demand. The Irish government, which is showing increasing signs of impatience and disillusion with the ability of Mr Adams to deliver the republican movement, has bolstered the British position by refraining from echoing the call from Dr Daly.
Dick Spring, the Irish foreign minister, said he did not believe direct talks between the British government and Sinn Fein were possible. He said: 'We are very disappointed at the IRA's token gesture. We believe that we have made enormous efforts over the last number of months. I don't see any prospect of a meeting between the British Government and Sinn Fein at this stage.'
A statement from Downing Street reiterated the Government's position: 'What is needed is not a three-day ceasefire, after which the killing would begin again, but a permanent end to violence.'
At the same time, no one knows all of what is going on behind the scenes at this moment. There will almost certainly be surreptitious activity from potential go-betweens anxious to bridge the gap and move the peace process along.
Logistical considerations within the IRA probably preclude an extension of this week's ceasefire, which is scheduled to end at midnight on Friday. Sinn Fein has already made it fairly clear, however, that it accepts that no early London move towards clarification is likely. The impression is being given, however, that a break in the clarification stalemate could create new opportunities.
Mr Adams gave an interesting insight into republican analysis when he declared: 'The British may not yet be planning to leave Ireland. But they will. I am firmly convinced that they can be persuaded to end the union and to do so in a manner which will permit all of the people of Ireland to come to agreement on a new and stable society on this island.'
Because of this, he said, republicans need not be in a defensive mindset, and should seek to maintain the political offensive. If these issues were addressed properly, he said, then substantial progress was possible.
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
The ten coldest places on Earth
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading mark...