Tuesday, August 3, 1999 Published at 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
No quick decision on IRA ceasefire
Status of IRA ceasefire is under the spotlight
By BBC Northern Ireland Political Correspondent Martina Purdy
An Irish government minister has signalled there will be no early decision on the status of the IRA ceasefire.
She said: "Any assessment of whether a ceasefire has been breached is one based on security intelligence, obviously, but also on fine political judgement from the ministers involved and the two governments."
Ms O'Donnell was speaking on Tuesday after a courtesy call from the new Northern Ireland Political Development Minister George Howarth.
Her remarks are likely to irk unionists, coming just hours after the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) said the IRA had murdered north Belfast man Charles Bennett.
The Democratic Unionist Party justice spokesman Ian Paisley Junior said the RUC evidence should force the government to "face reality".
He said: "The IRA's ceasefire is nothing more than a sick joke."
So far, the RUC has not made a definitive statement on whether a recently uncovered Florida-based gunrunning ring is linked to the Provisional IRA.
Irish Justice Minister John O'Donaghue yesterday said he did not accept the IRA ceasefire was "coming apart at the seams".
He pointed to a statement from the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams that the cessation was intact.
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