BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: N Ireland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 19:07 GMT 20:07 UK
Trimble sets deadline for action
Ahern and Blair
The PMs are under pressure to crack down on violence
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has given the British and Irish governments until the end of the month to produce proposals on how to deal with paramilitary violence.

Emerging from an hour-long meeting with the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair at Hillsborough Castle, he said they needed to be "active" not "passive".

Mr Trimble wants swift action
Mr Trimble wants swift action
Mr Trimble requested the talks amid concerns over ongoing sectarian conflict in Belfast and allegations of continuing IRA activity at home and abroad.

Unionists say it is eroding support for the Good Friday Agreement among their supporters.

The first minister said: "There is a very, very, serious loss of confidence in the unionist community."

He said there had to be clearer consequences for paramilitaries who crossed the "red line", or there would be a "very serious problem indeed".

Mr Blair and his Irish counterpart are trying to avert a crisis in the peace process by meeting with all Northern Ireland's pro-Agreement political parties.

Following a round of bi-lateral meetings, Mr Blair said it was important to recognise the peace process was a transition but the process must be kept moving.

"Transition means transition - full transition from violence to democracy," he said.

"We've got to look at the ways we make that clear, that we lay down principles for people to abide by and what happens of they don't abide by them.

There have been outbreaks of violence in recent weeks
There have been outbreaks of violence in recent weeks
"In the short term what we have to do is deal with this issue of street violence."

The prime minister said all of the parties he had spoken to agreed to do everything they could to resolve the situation.

And he insisted Sinn Fein was serious about making the peace process work.

Sinn Fein maintains the allegations about the IRA are unproven and that the violence on the streets in recent weeks has been provoked by loyalists not republicans.

Arriving for the talks, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, said political difficulties could be resolved and urged the government not to give in to unionist pressure.

"The issue of course of armed groups has to be tackled. How do we do that? We do that by coming together and working together, by setting an example by implementing the Agreement," he said.

Armed groups

SDLP leader Mark Durkan called on the British and Irish governments to be "less in denial" about paramilitary activity.

He said: "Paramilitaries continue to be active.

"Where there is activity in the dark recesses of this process we have to shine a light into those activities and expose them - not put the lights out."

Mr Blair has acknowledged the paramilitary ceasefires are imperfect and said there needs to be clearer evidence of a move away from violence.

He told parliament on Wednesday that a half-way house "where paramilitaries of whatever description believe there is a tolerated level of violence" was not acceptable.

After the prime ministers met the smaller Protestant parties and other executive groups, they held multi-party talks that are still continuing.

However, Mr Blair's official spokesman said he did not expect the sessions "to produce any instant initiatives".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's political editor Mark Devenport:
"The Prime Minister acknowledged that the paramilitary ceasefires were imperfect"
Prof Paul Bew of Queen's University:
"This is an attempt to save the Agreement"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis

Analysis

Background

SPECIAL REPORT: IRA

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

14 Jun 02 | N Ireland
14 Jun 02 | N Ireland
13 Jun 02 | N Ireland
30 Nov 01 | UK Politics
15 Jun 02 | N Ireland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more N Ireland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes