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Monday, August 30, 1999 Published at 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Blair urged to act over expulsions

Unionists question Sinn Fein's position after further expulsions

Unionists are pressing for an early meeting with the UK prime minister to discuss the crisis in the peace process as more young people are ordered to leave Northern Ireland by paramilitaries.

BBC Political Correspondent Nicholas Jones: "The timing is significant"
The Ulster Unionist Party have warned that without Tony Blair's intervention the negotiations could ''go down the drain''.

UUP security spokesman Ken Maginnis again called on Mr Blair to replace Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam because she is not ''competent'' to do her job.

Ken Maginnis: "Mo Mowlam has a soft spot for those who live close to the edge"
His comments follow Dr Mowlam's ruling that the IRA ceasefire is intact despite reports of threats of increasing violence in the province.

And several youths were told this weekend that if they did not leave Northern Ireland immediately they would be shot by the IRA.

Meanwhile, the Loyalist Volunteer Force announced it would hand over more weapons. The group gave a quantity of weapons to the Commission on Decommissioning for destruction in December 1998.

The Search for Peace
In a BBC interview Mr Maginnis said: ''We have a secretary of state who puts a telescope to her blind eye and doesn't see what happens in terms of the process. She can only see things in terms of disjointed and separate events.

''During the past year I have experienced (Mo Mowlam) making no considered judgements. I believe she doesn't understand the nature of guerilla warfare (or) what she is being told by her official intelligence sources.''

[ image: Dr Mowlam: Under pressure after ceasefire declaration]
Dr Mowlam: Under pressure after ceasefire declaration
He added: ''She has a greater affinity for those who live close to the edge than those at the core of society in Northern Ireland.''

Mr Maginnis said that next month's review of the failure of the Good Friday Agreement to deliver a devolved government for Northern Ireland Ireland was ''absolutely essential''.

He said he expected former peace talks chairman George Mitchell to give a ''considered analysis''.

The Ulster Unionist assembly party will meet on Tuesday to discuss its position on taking part in the review, due to begin on 6 September.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble: "It made life for everybody in Northern Ireland worse"
Leader David Trimble has not indicated he will boycott the review, although he condemned Dr Mowlam's ruling, saying it had caused "tremendous damage".

But his deputy, John Taylor, has questioned the value of talking to Sinn Fein and his party is considering legal action against Ms Mowlam over her ceasefire decision.

UUP MP for Lagan Valley, Jeffrey Donaldson, also said his party must decide soon whether Sinn Fein should be included in the political process while the IRA keeps on threatening and carrying out violence.

Mr Donaldson said: ''I'm far from convinced that there is now value in dialogue with republicans."

'Situation transformed'

But Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has said many people realise that while the situation is not perfect, it has been transformed.

The BBC's Chris West: "Violent incidents continue"
He said the secretary of state had made the only decision about the ceasefire she could make.

He said: "It has been accepted and recognised by many people in both communities that the situation we are involved in is not a perfect process.''

Sinn Fein's ruling council will soon meet to decide whether it will take part in the review.

More threats

More threats - allegedly by the IRA - were made against young people this weekend after four youths from Dungannon were ordered to flee Northern Ireland.

Police say a 19-year-old man was beaten by masked men and told to leave Northern Ireland within 24 hours after being abducted from Ardoyne in west Belfast on Sunday.

He is being treated in hospital for injuries to his leg, arm, head and ribs.

And a 15-year-old boy is said to have been told on Sunday to get out of Northern Ireland within 48 hours.

It is not clear why the young men have been told to leave, but in the past the IRA has issued such warnings to those it considers "guilty" of anti-social behaviour or petty crime.

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