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No consensus reached on final set of proposals to deal with flags, disputed parades and the legacy of the Troubles

Mayhew softens line on clarifying peace declaration

FRESH hopes of peace in Northern Ireland were raised last night when a more conciliatory approach to Sinn Fein's demands for clarification of the Downing Street declaration was signalled by Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein says that talks began in 1990

A SINN FEIN spokesman travelled to Westminster yesterday to release documents designed to show that republicans had been in secret contact with the British for three years, writes David McKittrick.

Old loyalties boost new-look Communists: The Democratic Socialists are no longer taboo in east Germany, writes Steve Crawshaw in Treppeln

LOGS blaze merrily in the fire. Above a wooden table, seating 20 people, hangs an elaborately carved hunting scene. Traditional folk art, it seems - until you notice the factory chimneys in one corner of the picture. Then you realise: the wood-carving is yet another hymn to the now-deceased workers' and peasants' state, the German Democratic Republic. For this house, hidden in the woods near the border with Poland, was once reserved for the Stasi, the east German secret police, to relax in.

Sinn Fein calls public meetings

Sinn Fein has outlined a formal structure of public and private deliberation to underpin its response to the Downing Street declaration.

Labour seeks clarification on Ulster: McNamara backs Sinn Fein call for details on declaration. David McKittrick reports

THE Labour Party's Northern Ireland spokesman, Kevin McNamara, yesterday added his voice to mounting calls for the Government to respond to Sinn Fein calls for clarification of the Downing Street declaration.

Shots fired at Sinn Fein Councillor

Shots were fired at the west Belfast home of Alex Maskey, a Sinn Fein councillor, last night. No one was injured. The loyalist Ulster Freedom Fighters said they had carried out the shooting, their first of 1994.

Letter: Lift the ban

IN ALL the reporting on the London/Dublin agreement, one angle has been absent: the restrictions on broadcast interviews with representatives of Sinn Fein, the UDA and nine other Northern Ireland organisations. But both the British broadcasting ban and its equivalent in the Republic of Ireland, Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, will become even more untenable if these organisations enter the political mainstream. The Government, which has taken pains to demonise Sinn Fein in particular, now has to render it 'constitutional'.

IRA talks still offered despite violence

DOUGLAS HURD, the Foreign Secretary, said yesterday that the offer to the IRA and Sinn Fein to enter talks with the Government would remain on the table despite renewed violence in Ulster.

Sinn Fein's version of exchanges: David McKittrick examines details of the documents released yesterday

SINN FEIN yesterday added to the Government's credibility problem in Northern Ireland by releasing a sheaf of documents which it said were messages passed to it by the Government earlier this year.

The Secret IRA Meetings: Government and Sinn Fein met daily, says McGuinness

MARTIN McGUINNESS, the Sinn Fein leader approached by the Government, said yesterday that contacts were continuing 'on a daily basis'.

Irish wolf in sheep's clothing?

WITH its usual sense of irony, the IRA's political counterpart, Sinn Fein, had chosen the South Place Ethical Society's base at London's Conway Hall to talk of its policies on Northern Ireland before a largely British press.

Let us hear what they say: Dublin's draconian political censorship is at last looking vulnerable, says Michael Farrell

SOME years ago there was a serious fire at a guesthouse in the Irish holiday resort of Bundoran. A reporter for the national broadcasting company, Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE), filed an interview with an eyewitness to the fatal blaze. But the interview was never broadcast.

Labour slants homes policy against the single parent: Blunkett talks of changing council waiting list system to reward 'responsible' couples. Colin Brown reports

THE POINTS system for council housing waiting lists should be changed to reward responsible couples who have a stable relationship before having children, David Blunkett, the Labour spokesman on health, said last night.

Letter: Workers lack protection against Maastricht policies

Sir: The Government's claim that the changes to be brought about by Maastricht are not new, given our earlier adherence to the Treaty of Rome, resembles a claim that there is no essential difference between a first toe into the ocean and a step taking one out of one's depth (report, 8 June).

Soldier shoots man after attack on Sinn Fein office

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