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Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Trimble urges move on IRA ceasefire
David Trimble hopes John Reid will exert pressure on the IRA
David Trimble hopes John Reid will exert pressure on the IRA
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has urged the Northern Ireland secretary to declare the IRA ceasefire over if it commits another murder.

The call came as Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he was working "flat out" to achieve IRA decommissioning.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Trimble said he hoped Dr John Reid would apply the same action to the IRA as he had done to the Ulster Defence Association and Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Politicians in Northern Ireland are considering the implications of the government's declaration that the UDA and LVF ceasefires are over after recent violence.

Upsurge in violence

Dr Reid made the announcement that their ceasefires were at an end at Hillsborough Castle on Friday afternoon.

The decision followed the murder of a journalist and an upsurge in street violence.


Dr Reid won't want to look as though he is being biased in his approach

David Trimble

Mr Trimble flies to Washington on Saturday for a series of briefings.

He told Sky News he did not think Dr Reid had any option other than to specify the UDA and LVF.

"There are things he can do now in terms of exerting significant pressure on those organisations, and I hope he is actually going to do it," he said.

"And I would like to say to Dr Reid that next time the IRA murder someone, he will take exactly the same action, because over the course of the last year, the IRA have murdered four people, and nothing has been done about it.

David Trimble: Series of briefings
David Trimble: Series of briefings

"Dr Reid won't want to look as though he is being biased in his approach."

The Ulster Unionist leader is expected to meet the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Richard Haass, and members of Congress in Washington.

'Precise statement'

Before his departure to the US, Mr Trimble again said UUP ministers would withdraw from the Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive in the absence of IRA decommissioning.

"I announced that a week ago and I will give a more precise statement about this on Monday, and following that, I don't think Dr Reid has any choice but to suspend devolution in Northern Ireland, and that means removing the other ministers, particularly the Sinn Fein ministers, from the administration," he said.

Northern Ireland secretary John Reid
Dr John Reid has declared ceasefires over

The withdrawal of UUP ministers would lead to the collapse of the institutions.

It is expected, however, that Dr Reid would reintroduce direct rule in the Northern Ireland before the assembly collapsed.

On Friday, Dr Reid said the LVF and UDA had "systematically breached their ceasefires and I believe the patience of the people of Northern Ireland has run out".

Increased security is likely to follow the government's ruling.

Dr Reid said: "The security forces will get the full backing of the government in anything they need to do."

He also said police inquiries into the murder of investigative journalist Martin O'Hagan near his home in County Armagh were concentrating on the LVF, a loyalist splinter group.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said he could not say whether any movement on the arms issue would take place in time to prevent the suspension of the institutions.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, he warned that if the government did suspend, then that would mark the end of the Good Friday Agreement

"I think that if the British Government suspends the people's institutions and we go into a review, I think many people will be of a view that it will be highly unlikely that we will see those institutions re-established," he said.

Earlier, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams warned that the Good Friday Agreement was "on the verge of collapse".

Ulster Unionist Economy Minister Sir Reg Empey said there was the prospect of a very significant breakthrough if both republican and loyalist paramilitaries started to decommission.

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 ON THIS STORY
Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid
"They have systematically breached their ceasefires"
Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson:
"The IRA cannot have a foot on both sides of the line"

Assembly back

IRA arms breakthrough

Background

Loyalist ceasefire

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See also:

13 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Politicans assess ceasefire end
12 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Reid acted on 'ceasefire farce'
12 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
UDA ceasefire: 1994 - 2001?
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