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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 14:09 GMT
Murphy calls for move from IRA
NI Secretary Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy does not expect a quick resolution
The IRA must indicate where it is going if talks to restore devolution in Northern Ireland are to move forward, the Northern Ireland secretary has said.

Paul Murphy was speaking from Washington, where he has been discussing security issues with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the US Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI.

Mr Murphy said the issue of continuing paramilitary activity, which led to the suspension of the institutions, had to be addressed in order to build trust between the parties.

He said he did not see a way to end the political crisis quickly.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams will hold talks with Bertie Ahern
"There have to be moves from the IRA in terms of where they are going over the next months and in terms of where they believe they should stand when we are in a peaceful democratic society," he told the BBC on Friday.

Northern Ireland's political institutions were suspended on 14 October following a row over allegations of IRA activity, including intelligence gathering at Stormont.

Mr Murphy and Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen have been co-hosting multi-party talks but so far there is no sign of progress.

The Ulster Unionists have insisted they will not return to power-sharing with Sinn Fein until there is absolute certainty the IRA will cease all paramilitary activity.

The current state of the talks process was discussed on Friday when Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams had an informal meeting with Irish premier Bertie Ahern.

They held talks on the fringes of an event marking the Special Olympic summer games, which is being staged in the Irish Republic next year.

Speaking beforehand, Mr Adams said there was a "clear onus on the Irish Government as a co-equal partner to the Good Friday Agreement to keep the British Government focussed on its obligations".

'Not good enough'

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has been criticised for its attitude to the Stormont talks.

Speaking on Thursday, the SDLP's Sean Farren said it was "not good enough" to point the finger at others for the crisis.

"Gerry Adams has finally accepted, as the SDLP pointed out, that IRA activity is damaging unionist confidence in the Agreement," said the former Stormont finance minister.

SDLP MLA Sean Farren
Sean Farren criticised Sinn Fein's attitude
"Though Sinn Fein have successfully diagnosed one of the problems. Now we need to see them come up with some solutions.

"That means facing up to their responsibilities and play their part in ending paramilitarism," said Mr Farren.

Following the collapse of power-sharing at Stormont, current legislation dictates that the British and Irish Governments must review the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement on which devolution was based.

But unless some common ground can be found between the parties on how to proceed, there is no mechanism for reinstating Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive.

Both the governments have stressed that there will be no re-negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Secretary of State Paul Murphy:
"There has to be movement from the IRA"
Find out more about the latest moves in the Northern Ireland peace process

Devolution crisis





See also:

28 Nov 02 | N Ireland
20 Nov 02 | N Ireland
19 Nov 02 | N Ireland
15 Oct 02 | N Ireland
21 Nov 02 | N Ireland
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