Sinn Fein broadcast ban to be maintained: Right wing urges tougher line on IRA

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THE GOVERNMENT announced last night it will maintain the broadcasting ban on Sinn Fein and the IRA in Britain, in spite of the platform given to Gerry Adams in the United States.

The decision, confirmed after a review by Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, came as the Government was urged by right-wing Tory leaders to take tougher action against the IRA. The ban, lifted recently in the Republic, was imposed in Britain in 1988.

With Baroness Thatcher due to give her response to Mr Adams's charm offensive on US television this weekend, the Conservative Way Forward group, of which she is president, called on the British and Irish governments to intensify the security battle against the IRA with internment of IRA leaders.

'By their actions, the IRA have made it clear that they reject the peace offer made by the London and Dublin governments . . . The governments should introduce preventive detention both north and south of the border,' the group said.

The pressure on the IRA was turned up by Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in a speech yesterday confirming that 'a significant transfer of power and authority' to political institutions would take place, if an agreement was reached between the democratic parties, excluding Sinn Fein. He is prepared to pass powers to an elected assembly and cross- border boards if agreement is reached.

Sir Patrick also sought to allay the concerns of the Irish government in the speech at the London School of Economics that his plan to kick-start the talks in the next fortnight might offer an internal solution, ignoring relations with the Republic. 'I have suggested the Government could come forward, not with a blueprint, but a framework of ideas . . .

'We are not in the business of being prescriptive or nudging an outcome in any particular direction.'

The decision to reaffirm the ban was agreed by Cabinet ministers at the end of a week when nerves were still raw over the propaganda coup by the Sinn Fein president. It was welcomed by Tory backbenchers, who called for the ban to be tightened to end the use of actor's voices over Sinn Fein statements.

'I think the pressure will come on the Government to get rid of this nonsense whereby we have actors whose voices are used over film of Sinn Fein leaders. It is bringing the ban into disrepute,' said James Cran, deputy chairman of the Tory backbench Northern Ireland committee.

Mr Cran said he believed the propaganda coup by Mr Adams had backfired on the US President: 'I don't think the American government will allow Adams back and I don't think the European countries will invite him either.'

Adams and green Apple, page 27