Sinn Fein leader demands peace talks

PEACE TALKS on Northern Ireland were demanded yesterday by Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein.

But Mr Adams rejected a renewed call by Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, for the IRA to renounce violence.

Neither man's words marked any shift in position. But Sir Patrick said in a BBC interview he was confident that the collapsed inter-party talks on the government of Northern Ireland would be revived when a new government was in place in the Irish republic.

The prospect of renewed talks - although likely to be met with scepticism - was seen as an attempt to put renewed pressure on the hawks in the IRA to review their campaign of violence, and to strengthen the case for those who share Mr Adams's support for a political settlement. Sir Patrick made it clear that he would not hold talks with the IRA until it renounced violence.

'We can talk properly and we have been talking properly to all those who refuse to countenance violence,' he said. 'If violence is abandoned, disavowed, forsworn, set behind them by the IRA and they give us a sufficient time to show that they mean it, then people will talk.'

Mr Adams, speaking through an actor's voice to comply with the broadcasting ban on interviews with Sinn Fein leaders, said on BBC radio it was not a significant initiative by Sir Patrick. 'There should be a demilitarisation of the situation. Sinn Fein has an electoral mandate which should be respected by the Government.

'Mayhew should start peace talks. It's as simple as that. . . Sinn Fein is prepared for talks now. Today. If Patrick Mayhew is serious he should be prepared for talks now. Today.'

Sir Patrick was speaking after condemning the first killings of the year in Northern Ireland, in which two Catholics were murdered by protestant paramilitaries.

He said of the prospect of further inter-party talks: 'Last year we had the most successful talks for the last 20 years. . . They were immensely important. Everyone recognises the need for future talks.

'I confidently believe that when we have a new government in the republic, talks will take place. And it is with a view to getting a new set of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, between the two islands, East and West, that those talks took place.'

He attributed one of the causes of the violence to lack of a basis for the self-governance of Northern Ireland.

'A political discussion should continue to see if we can get a political accommodation,' Sir Patrick said.

Leading article, page 16

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own