Ulster security tightened again

A FULL security alert returned to Northern Ireland last night as the IRA's 72-hour Christmas ceasefire drew to a close.

No terrorist incident - by either the IRA or loyalists - was recorded during the three days but there were fears in security circles that the IRA would resume its campaign quickly to show it could turn violence on and off.

Leaders of the IRA and its political wing Sinn Fein were still deciding on their response to the Downing Street declaration.

During the Christmas holiday the pressure mounted on terrorists to give up violence and take the path of peace. The Queen, in her Christmas message, led millions in praying for peace, and was supported in separate messages by Church leaders.

Archbishop Robin Eames, head of the Church of Ireland, urged the terrorists and their supporters to stop the violence now. 'It is time they came out of the darkness and the sinister world they have created around themselves.'

Catholic Cardinal Cahal Daly said the road to peace was not going to be easy but enormous opportunities lay ahead. 'I see a great future opening up for this land of ours,' he said.

The Irish Prime Minister, Albert Reynolds, said that if the path to peace was taken there would be a huge task of reconciliation that would take a generation.

Writing in Northern Ireland's Sunday Life, he accepted it would take a little time for the various factions in the conflict to make up their minds on the declaration. 'Peace has huge implications for everyone. It is right that people should be given a little space and time to think through the alternatives both for themselves and their communities.'

It was reported yesterday that imprisoned UVF terrorists were prepared to accept the Major-Reynolds declaration.

One man at home with his family during Christmas parole from the Maze Prison said all 93 of the UVF men in the jail had studied the joint declaration and thought it fair.

Billy Giles, 36, serving life for the 1982 murder of a Catholic, told the Sunday Times: 'The guys in the jail have looked at this document and the feeling is that there is nothing in there which is worth killing people for. We are quite happy with what we see and I think the Provisionals are pushed into a corner.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk