Sinn Fein to face two-way pressure

JOHN MAJOR and Albert Reynolds are to meet later this month to discuss plans for increasing the pressure on Sinn Fein to accept the Downing Street declaration, it was disclosed last night.

Their meeting will take place on 19 February, five days before the Sinn Fein annual conference in Ireland, which is expected by the two governments to send a signal about the likelihood of a permanent end to the violence.

The two Prime Ministers are expected to agree a strategy for intensifying the pressure on Sinn Fein to accept the Downing Street declaration, including British ideas for devolving powers to local government in Northern Ireland and cross-border boards, which are likely to be published in the run-up to the Sinn Fein conference.

They will both be guests at the England-Ireland rugby international at Twickenham, but are likely to meet at another venue for talks before Mr Reynolds returns to Dublin. The meeting, confirmed by sources in Downing Street and Dublin, was also seen as a sign that Mr Reynolds was running out of patience with Sinn Fein.

The Irish Prime Minister said he wanted a 'decision soon' from the republican movement. In a speech to his Fianna Fail party, he made it clear he believed he had done all he could to meet Sinn Fein demands for clarification of the declaration, which would allow Sinn Fein into the talks with democratic parties, once they had renounced violence.

He told a meeting of his party's European candidates he had provided 'copious clarification' of the document. 'Since such clarification was requested from us, we are entitled to expect that it would be carefully studied and taken into account. Two months after the joint peace declaration, it is time for political realism and a clear decision soon,' Mr Reynolds said.

The Sinn Fein commission considering the Downing Street declaration at the weekend heard a united call from a wide range of nationalist opinion for an immediate IRA ceasefire.

But the representatives from religious, trade union, community and peace groups who addressed the hearing in Dublin were more equivocal on the declaration. More than half the speakers said it offered little while nationalists remained a minority within the Northern Ireland structure, though many saw it as the basis for a broader settlement.

Four soldiers were injured, one seriously, in a mortar attack on an Army and police patrol in west Belfast on Saturday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Investigo: management accountant

£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...

Recruitment Genius: ORM / Online Reputational Consultant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore