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Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Trimble demands IRA disbandment
Trimble rejects idea of talks over Stormont suspension
Trimble rejects idea of talks over Stormont suspension
Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has told his party conference unionists will not be satisfied with a "phantom" IRA disbandment.

But speaking to hundreds of delegates at the Millennium Forum in Londonderry on Saturday Mr Trimble said the situation now demanded "deeds not words".

"Words like: the war is over, will cut no ice," he said.

The former first minister said republicans had moved "but not enough".

Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair called for the end of the IRA

And in a direct message to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, Mr Trimble said: "It's up to you. Do not expect promises or beginnings to do the trick."

Echoing the comments of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who visited Northern Ireland on Thursday to address the current political crisis, the Ulster Unionist leader said the transition to peace must be completed.

And he said Mr Blair must not settle for anything but "completed actions from the IRA".

He said all of Northern Ireland's paramilitary groups "must go away for good".

Mr Trimble also attacked the Democratic Unionist Party, which he said was "a party of big lies and half truths".

He said the DUP had supported the Agreement in deeds by taking part in the power-sharing executive, while claiming not to in words.

It was the Ulster Unionist Party which had delivered devolution and taken the hard choices, he said.

'No reason for talks'

Earlier, speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics programme, Mr Trimble said he could see no point in round-table negotiations between the parties being held following the suspension of Northern Ireland's devolved power-sharing government on Monday.

Iain Duncan Smith called for Agreement implementation timetable
Iain Duncan Smith called for Agreement implementation timetable

Sinn Fein has called for the British and Irish governments to convene such discussions in order to address the current political crisis which has followed controversy over allegations of IRA spying in the Northern Ireland Office.

But Mr Trimble said that would achieve very little.

Also speaking at the Ulster Unionist conference, Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said there must be complete IRA decommissioning and disbandment, and an unequivocal declaration that their war is over.

He said the Good Friday Agreement remained "the best means of achieving stability for the Union," but he said it could only be implemented if set to a strict timetable.

He also said the prime minister should consider expelling Sinn Fein from its Westminster offices to underscore his commitment to the Agreement.

He also called for a crackdown on loyalist paramilitaries.

'Republicans angry'

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said republicans had been angered by Tony Blair's keynote speech call for an end to the IRA.

The prime minister had warned that it was not possible to carry on "with the IRA half in, half out".

"There is no parallel track left. The fork in the road has finally come," he said.

But Mr Adams said Mr Blair was taking the wrong approach and warned him that "removing the political anchor of the process was a grievous mistake".

As the parties continue to criticise each other publicly, talks between the parties in the British and Irish Government officials are expected to take place behind the scenes in an attempt to restore confidence in the political process.

The May date for the assembly election is being seen as a more pressing concern for some of the parties than any reinstatement of devolution.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI political correspondent Martina Purdy:
"Delegates heard their leader demand deeds, not words from the IRA"

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See also:

18 Oct 02 | Politics
18 Oct 02 | N Ireland
17 Oct 02 | N Ireland
17 Oct 02 | N Ireland
17 Oct 02 | N Ireland
17 Oct 02 | N Ireland
14 Oct 02 | N Ireland
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