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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Trimble motion on IRA fails in assembly
Mr Trimble held a 45-minute meeting with Mr Ahern
Mr Trimble held a 45-minute meeting with Mr Ahern
An Ulster Unionist motion calling on the Northern Ireland secretary to assess the state of the IRA ceasefire has failed.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble told the assembly he believed there was enough information for the secretary of state to act against the IRA.

Mr Trimble claimed there was evidence of the group's involvement in Colombia and intelligence that republicans were behind the recent murder of Barney McDonald in County Tyrone.

The motion called on the Secretary of State, John Reid, to report on the current status of the ceasefire.

However, it was defeated by 38 to 29 votes.

The motion followed allegations the IRA trained Colombian guerillas in weapons and was involved in the raid on the police Special Branch headquarters at Castlereagh in Belfast on 17 March.

Further claims that the IRA collected intelligence on Conservative politicians and Army bases in Britain have created uproar.

Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid
John Reid: Asked to assess IRA ceasefire

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said: "The important point to bear in mind in regard to Castlereagh and the Dungannon killing (of Barney McDonald), is that yes there is suspicion, yes there is intelligence... but we do not yet have hard evidence.

"But that is precisely what the secretary of state can act on.

"When he made his determination in regard to the UDA ceasefire, he did so on the basis of intelligence - that is another reason for putting the issue before the secretary of state.

"It is his responsibility, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the integrity of this process."

Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley said: "Every time the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party indicts the IRA, he is indicting himself.

"He has accused them of these crimes - that we know they are guilty of."

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly told the assembly that it was British intelligence behind the security breach at Castlereagh.

Mr Trimble later met Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern for 45 minutes in Dublin.

Mr Ahern insisted the IRA ceasefire was still "very much in place" and urged all parties to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

Earlier in the assembly, a DUP amendment of the motion failed to get a majority backing.

The amendment said the assembly should take action on ruling on the IRA ceasefire, rather than the secretary of state.

Journalist

The Ulster Unionist motion said the party was "deeply concerned" by recent violence, including "murders and paramilitary actions in Northern Ireland, England and the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere".

It calls on Dr Reid "following his recent determination on the status of the UDA/UFF ceasefire, to make a determination on the status of the IRA ceasefire and to make a statement indicating the consequential measures he considers appropriate".

Last October, Dr Reid said the government no longer recognised the ceasefires of the UDA/UFF - the largest loyalist paramilitary organisation - and the smaller, splinter group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

It followed the murder of a County Armagh journalist and an upsurge in street violence.

The UDA ceasefire has been declared over
The UDA ceasefire has been declared over

On Saturday, the SDLP leader and deputy first minister, Mark Durkan, said a determination on the state of the IRA ceasefire should not be sought in the assembly.

He said his party would not be supporting the motion saying that there was a need to recognise there was going to be "turbulence" involved in the process.

On Friday, Mr Trimble said it would not be possible to sustain Northern Ireland's political arrangements unless republicans restored their credibility.

The Northern Ireland first minister gave his analysis after a meeting with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at Stormont.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Annita McVeigh at Stormont
"I don't think any of the parties advanced their position"
BBC NI's Martina Purdy:
"David Trimble said there was plenty of evidence of IRA involvement with FARC guerillas"
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble
"The DUP say they hate Sinn Fein but their behaviour shows... they hate Ulster Unionists"
See also:

27 Apr 02 | Northern Ireland
SDLP will not back ceasefire motion
26 Apr 02 | Northern Ireland
Republicans 'must restore credibility'
24 Apr 02 | Northern Ireland
Republican activity 'undermines' process
24 Apr 02 | Americas
Congress hears damning IRA report
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