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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK


UK

Recriminations over murder of taxi driver

Police blame unidentified paramilitaries for the killing

An Ulster Unionist MP has called on Northern Ireland's police chief to state who he believes was behind a recent paramilitary style killing.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said it would be a clear breach of the IRA ceasefire if the organisation was responsible for the murder of Belfast man Charles Bennett.

He wants RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan to make a "clear statement" about who carried out the killing.

But Gerry Kelly from Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, has accused Mr Donaldson of trying to undermine the peace process.

The Search for Peace
Mr Bennett's body was found in waste ground on the mainly nationalist Falls Road area of west Belfast last Friday. The 22-year-old had been shot in the head.

On Monday security sources in the province indicated the Provisional IRA, currently on ceasefire, was behind the shooting.

Mr Donaldson said if the IRA were responsible, there must be an immediate end to the early release of paramilitary prisoners taking place under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.


[ image: Jeffrey Donaldson: RUC must state position on murder]
Jeffrey Donaldson: RUC must state position on murder
"The circumstances of the murder, the manner in which it was carried out, the location where it was carried out points to the work of the Provisional IRA," he said.

"It is absolutely essential now for the Chief Constable to come out clearly and state who he believes was responsible, and for the Secretary of State then to take immediate action on the basis of the Chief Constable's declaration."

But Gerry Kelly said the IRA ceasefire remains intact.

He said: ''Jeffrey Donaldson is using this issue very cynically to attack the Good Friday Agreement.

"He is no friend of the peace process.

''He has used every opportunity to undermine the peace process. He is the clear leader inside the UUP of the rejectionists and the wreckers.''

State of ceasefire

Earlier, Northern Ireland Economy Minister John McFall said he accepted people were worried about the status of the IRA ceasefire.

"There is a worry because people are afraid there isn't political stability," he said.

UK Unionist leader Robert McCartney has called on Secretary of State Mo Mowlam to say immediately if she believes the IRA ceasefire has been broken.

He said if such a breach had occurred, Sinn Fein should be suspended from the review of the implementation of the Agreement. This review is due to take place in September.


[ image: Charles Bennett was found on the Falls Road on Friday]
Charles Bennett was found on the Falls Road on Friday
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said Mr Bennett's family deserved to know the truth about his death.

Mr Bennett was found dead behind a social club, with a cloth over his face and his hands tied behind his back. He had been missing for five days.

He was last seen at his girlfriend's house on Sunday afternoon when he answered a knock on the door and said he would return in 15 minutes.



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