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Friday, 1 November, 2002, 16:58 GMT
Murphy holds further NI talks
NI Secretary Paul Murphy is to meet all of the parties
NI Secretary Paul Murphy is to meet all of the parties
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has met more of the political parties as part of a series of talks aimed at ending the current crisis.

The province's power-sharing institutions were suspended on 14 October following a row over allegations of IRA activity, including alleged spying within the Northern Ireland Office.

The government hopes the discussions will pave the way for a review of the implementation of the Agreement on which devolution was based and find a basis on which the institutions could be restored.

Mr Murphy, still reading into the job of Northern Ireland secretary, is back at Castle Buildings at Stormont where he helped to write the Good Friday Agreement as the then political development minister in 1998.

Mark Durkan said process would need careful management
Mark Durkan said process would need careful management

He is looking for common ground between the parties in the current round of talks.

Speaking after meeting Mr Murphy, SDLP leader Mark Durkan said that if he handled the situation properly, he could not only deliver the return of devolution but also the implementation of all aspects of the Agreement.

The government needed to engage with both the Irish Government and all of the political parties to do that, he said.

Mr Durkan also defended his idea that the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation should also be reconvened in Dublin to help find a way out of the impasse.

The forum was set up after the 1994 IRA ceasefire by then Taoiseach Albert Reynolds in an attempt to cement the peace process.

Mr Durkan said: "It will not be a rival to the sort of all-in exercise and all-out effort that is needed here among the parties and the two governments."

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness behind
Gerry Adams accused the government of having no action plan

Mr Murphy also met a delegation from the Ulster Unionist Party.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has said holding round-table talks including all the parties would be a pointless exercise.

Earlier Mr Murphy met the Alliance Party which was critical of his predecessor John Reid for refusing to take action to exclude Sinn Fein from government following the IRA spying allegations.

Speaking after the meeting, the Alliance Party's Eileen Bell said: "We had a very, very good and constructive meeting with him where we aired our concerns about suspension and the fact that we want that suspension of devolution to be as short as possible."

Representatives from two of the smaller anti-Agreement parties also met Mr Murphy.

The UK Unionist Party and the Northern Ireland Unionist Party want the Agreement to be scrapped.

Review

Next week, Mr Murphy will meet Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen, who is also to hold party discussions, to consider what they have heard.

Under the current legislation the two governments must decide how to conduct a review of the implementation of the Agreement following the suspension.

On Thursday, after meeting Mr Murphy, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams accused the government of not having any plan or the urgency needed to restore the political institutions.

His comments came following a statement by a loyalist lobby group, the Loyalist Commission blaming republicans for the collapse of the political institutions.

The commission, made up of representatives from the three loyalist paramilitary organisations, the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando and some Protestant clergymen, also called on unionist representatives to boycott "the Dublin inspired" Forum for Peace and Reconciliation.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's political correspondent Gareth Gordon:
"They are looking for common ground but it won't be easy to find"

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Analysis

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See also:

31 Oct 02 | N Ireland
30 Oct 02 | N Ireland
30 Oct 02 | N Ireland
30 Oct 02 | N Ireland
28 Oct 02 | N Ireland
26 Oct 02 | N Ireland
24 Oct 02 | N Ireland
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