Trimble: My worries over peace process

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The Independent Online

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble today said he was not sure if all parties had turned their backs on violence and therefore had "worries" about the peace process.

Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble today said he was not sure if all parties had turned their backs on violence and therefore had "worries" about the peace process.

The Ulster Unionist leader acknowledged that the terrorist prisoner release programme, which was completed yesterday by the freeing of 86 men, was "difficult".

He said: "I think it is perfectly reasonable to have worries. I do not know for certain that it is all going to work in the way that we want it to.

"I still have no certainty that all the parties are committed to peaceful means. To some extent we're travelling hopefully. We are also putting people to the test by doing so."

Asked about his relationship with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who is Education Minister on the power-sharing Executive headed by Mr Trimble, he said: "You do business sometimes with people you don't trust and indeed it's quite important to have a means of doing business with people who you don't trust."

Mr Trimble also said he believed the Orange Order was being used by those opposed to the political process: "It grieves me greatly to see this institution, which is very important to the social life of Northern Ireland, make such a bad fist of presenting itself," he said.

"I think part of the problem is that anti-Agreement elements have tried to use the institution as a political battering ram."

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