Bomb 'a reminder that peace process must work'

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The Independent Online

Labour MP for Ealing, Clive Soley, said the car bomb blast was a reminder that the Northern Ireland peace process had to be made to work.

"It sends out a very clear message to everyone to make sure this peace process works," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"They aren't going to achieve their ends, whether in Northern Ireland by shooting people or by trying to bomb London. It's out of date, it's stupid, it's wrong... at the end of the day it can't achieve anything."

"All it can do... it might push those people who can deliver a settlement in Northern Ireland a little bit harder in trying to find that settlement." Mr Soley reiterated the importance of the peace process.

"The people of Ireland, north and south, voted massively for the Good Friday agreement," he said.

"Yes, it is difficult, it was never going to be easy, but there is no other show in town... and the only alternative is this wicked behaviour which ends up with the death of youngsters in Northern Ireland or bombs in Ealing which come close to killing and maiming people really seriously and there is no future down that road."

Andrew Mackay, Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, urged the Government, in the light of the bombing, not to offer "further concessions" on security.

"It's clear that dissident republican terrorists are going to continue a potentially murderous campaign right the way across the United Kingdom and we all must be extremely vigilant," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It is essential that the Belfast agreement is fully implemented and the part that has not been implemented is the decommissioning of illegally held arms and explosives.

"The simple, dreadful truth is that not one gun or one ounce of Semtex has been handed in by any of the paramilitaries that signed up to the agreement whether they are republican or so­called loyalists."

Mr Mackay added: "It is perfectly understood that the Belfast agreement was a deal, and the deal put bluntly was we will release your terrorist prisoners early and allow some of you into Government if in return there is an end to violence and a decommissioning to all illegally held arms and explosives.

"The two Governments have kept their side of the deal, the paramilitaries have not.

"I just hope that what happened in Ealing will cause ministers and others to pause and think and realise that they should not make further concessions on security until and unless there is a clear end to violence and a real positive movement on decommissioning."

Alex Maskey, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, said the bombing placed greater emphasis on ensuring the Good Friday Agreement is implemented.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It simply reaffirms that there is a small micro­republican organisation which is opposed to the peace process and that is, of course, nothing new.

"What it tells us is that we have a major responsibility on ourselves, all of us, that includes the Government, to implement the Good Friday Agreement which is what people in very high numbers voted for ­ that's what we've got to do."

But he denied that one of the stipulations of the Agreement was that the IRA got rid of its weapons.

He told the programme. "No, it's not what the Agreement says, exactly so. We, with the Government and all of the other parties have the responsibility to use our influence to achieve decommissioning, that's an objective of the Agreement."

London Mayor Ken Livingstone urged Londoners to be "extra vigilant" in the wake of the bomb. "I was appalled to learn of the terrorist attack in Ealing last night.

"My first thoughts are with those who were injured in the attack. The fact that the terrorists gave the police misinformation clearly shows their total disregard for members of the public.

"I would urge Londoners to be extra vigilant."