Peace initiative fails to sway grass-roots republican opinion

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A SEMI-PUBLIC meeting attended by republicans in Loughmacrory, Co Tyrone, has given an indication that there is little sign of significant grass-roots pressure on the IRA to stop its activities, writes David McKittrick.

It confirmes that while the desire for peace is widespread in Northern Ireland, the consensus in republican areas appears to be that the Anglo-Irish declaration was not enough to trigger an IRA cessation of hostilities.

Anne Cadwallader, a local journalist who attended the meeting on Tuesday night, reported yesterday: 'The message came through clearly - the document, as it stands, is unacceptable to the republican movement. Speakers, however, trod a very careful line between outright rejection and being slightly more conciliatory in seeing it as a step in the right direction that should be fully explored. A significant number of leading Sinn Fein speakers said the document should be 'teased out'.'