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
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map