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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 21:03 GMT
Paisley 'fears for NI economy'
Ian Paisley
DUP leader Ian Paisley met Tony Blair
DUP leader Ian Paisley has said he fears for the future of Northern Ireland's economy because of reports of IRA criminality.

Mr Paisley was speaking after presenting his party's talks proposals to Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.

He said he raised his concerns over a security assessment that the IRA remains involved in organised crime.

Instead of accepting the report's findings, the NI security minister had said "all is well", Mr Paisley said.

Mr Paisley said that if the forthcoming Independent Monitoring Commission report accepts the findings of the paper he was referring to, they could do nothing other than say "the crimes are going on".

Facing Reality, a 16 page blueprint, has not been released and Mr Paisley said there was no debate about the paper at the Downing Street meeting.

He said that the public had a right to know what Mr Blair's response to the proposals were.

"We were not prepared to release it until we have his response," he said.

While the DUP's proposals have not been released, the paper is understood to propose a two-stage process under which the Stormont assembly might be revived, without a power-sharing executive.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said that under the DUP plan, ministers would not be appointed until unionists were convinced republicans were committed to peaceful politics.

Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy said the DUP was "trying to turn the clock back" with the proposals.

Secret deals, closed door negotiations and the delivery of hugely unpalatable policies have all contributed to a crisis of confidence in the political process
Jim Nicholson

"The two governments have to act to build on the potential created by the IRA initiatives," he said.

"The DUP proposals which are being presented to Tony Blair this afternoon are about undoing all of this."

An Alliance Party delegation met Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists during separate talks on Tuesday.

Alliance leader David Ford said: "We are making it clear to other parties that in our view reform is the only valid pro-Agreement position, but that the broad principles of the Agreement remain in place.

"One of these is the assurance of full devolution, with an executive - that is what the people voted for and that is what they must get."

'Focus attention'

Mr Blair will travel to Dublin later this week for talks with his Irish counterpart, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Both leaders are preparing for a fresh talks initiative after the publication of an Independent Monitoring Commission report on paramilitary activity at the end of the month.

The SDLP's North Belfast assembly member Alban Maginness urged the two governments to reject the "latest shopping list" from the DUP.

"The two governments must hold firm and focus attention on an inclusive way forward by naming a date for restoration of the institutions," he said.

We cannot underestimate the damage republicans have done to the ability of the pro-Union community to tolerate an all-inclusive executive
Sir Reg Empey

Earlier on Tuesday, the Ulster Unionists formally launched their plans for the NI Assembly to sit while Secretary of State Peter Hain and his ministerial team administered government departments.

The party plan would see a "sunset clause" which would see the assembly operate until April 2007.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said: "The Ulster Unionist Party is not interested in the assembly resuming as a talking shop - the favoured route of some parties.

"However, we cannot underestimate the damage republicans have done to the ability of the pro-Union community to tolerate an all-inclusive executive. It is immense and deep seated.

"The current stream of concessions to republicans is re-enforcing this view."

Unionist anger over 'IRA crime'
18 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland

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