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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent