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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 October 2006, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
DUP meeting with Church welcomed
Archbishop Sean Brady
Archbishop Sean Brady will be included in a group of churchmen
The decision by Ian Paisley to meet a Catholic church leader for the first time has been welcomed by nationalists.

The DUP leader is due to hold talks with Archbishop Sean Brady at Stormont later this month.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he would like the meeting to mark the beginning of Mr Paisley saying "yes after saying no for so long".

Alban Maginness of the SDLP said he hoped it signalled an end to the days of "fiery anti-Roman tub-thumping".

A spokesman for the DUP confirmed that Mr Paisley will lead a delegation to meet church leaders on 9 October as part of a series of talks.

Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley will lead a DUP delegation at the meeting

Speaking on the BBC's Politics Show, Martin McGuinness said unionists and republicans wanted to see everyone co-operating together.

"The vast majority of people in our society, right across the broad unionist and nationalist and republican constituency, want to see their politicians say yes, to co-operate with each other," he said.

"I hope this is the beginning of a process which will lead to Ian Paisley, the DUP, Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists in government together."

Alban Maginness said he hoped the meeting would "be a step on the road to broader engagement". "This is a welcome step which is not only useful and important, but also has major symbolic importance," he said.

"At last the outer reaches of unionism are prepared to show an attitude of decency and civility towards those with whom they have doctrinal differences."

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