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Thursday, 30 December, 1999, 09:03 GMT
Ahern: Dissidents threaten peace

Bertie Ahern(left): Peace is his millennium wish

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has warned that dissident republicans continue to threaten the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The Search for Peace
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The Taoiseach said security would have to continue to curtail the threat posed by dissidents such as the Continuity IRA.

He condemned the bomb scare sparked by a phone call to the BBC in Belfast which led to the abandonment of the Kempton Park race meeting on Monday.

Mr Ahern said: "There is still a small hardcore of people who do not want to see peace succeed. It is important that security continues."

He warned too that the threat from such organisations had not "gone away" and pledged continuing security efforts to track down any organisation attempting to bring down the Northern Ireland Peace Process through violence.

The Omagh Beacon will be used to light Dublin's millenium flame
Speaking at a special ceremony in advance of the Millennium celebrations in Dublin, he said his greatest wish for the turn of the century was for peace.

He joined children from Omagh who presented him with a flame from the Co. Tyrone town's Millennium beacon.

The flame was presented by youngsters from the town in which 29 people were killed and hundreds injured when a Real IRA car bomb exploded in August 1998.

The flame was delivered to the Irish premier by Clive, Hannah and Bethany, grandchildren of the Ulster Unionist Party chairman of Omagh District Council, Alan Rainey.

It will play a central role in ceremonies being staged on the southern side of the Irish border to mark the millennium.

Later this week, Mr Ahern will use a light from the flame to ignite candles at an open-air millennium concert scheduled to go ahead in the street yards from his government's headquarters in the centre of Dublin.
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See also:
27 Dec 99 |  UK
Racecourse back on track
12 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Ahern in arms appeal
16 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Ahern issues warning to dissidents
17 Dec 99 |  Health
Omagh doctors suffering traumatic flashbacks
24 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Remembering Northern Ireland's victims
28 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Cash boost for border projects
24 Dec 99 |  Northern Ireland
Leaders remember lost lives

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