Irish Republican News · December 15, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: PARTIES TO MEET IN LONDON
PARTIES TO MEET IN LONDON

The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair meet in London Wednesday to hold `talks about talks' with some of the Northern parties.

Mr Ahern and Mr Blair are due to meet the Ulster Unionists, Sinn Fein, the SDLP and Alliance on Wednesday afternoon to discuss how a review of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement should proceed in the New Year.

Ian Paisley's DUP are refusing to attend a London meeting with Dublin officials and are seeking a separate meeting with Mr Blair tomorrow. The DUP are demanding a complete renegotiation of the Agreement while refusing to hold talks with Sinn Fein.

The talks come as a senior Protestant clergyman has said the peace process is now ``dangerously off course''.

Dr John Neill, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, made the comments in his sermon to parishioners yesterday morning.

Dr Neill claimed the recent assembly election results showed the peace process was ``unravelling''.

He said there were parallels between the peace processes in the Middle East and the North, and both were going backwards.

``In Northern Ireland, where the killing almost stopped, there was a prevailing optimism that seemed to believe that though there were many obstacles, on the whole the movement was forwards and positive,'' he said.

``We may ask whether there was sufficient sense of judgement for this optimism to be termed as a genuine hope.''

Meanwhile, there have been reports that the British government may renege on a commitment to publish a report of an investigation into collusion by a Canadian judge this week.

On Thursday the Dublin Government is due to publish two of Judge Cory's reports dealing with alleged IRA collusion with the Garda police in the 26 Counties.

But it is through the British government might back down on a commitment to publish the results's of Judge Cory's investigations into controversial murders north of the Border. The issue is said to be straining tensions between the two governments.

However, this afternoon, a spokeswoman from the Dublin Department of Foreign Affairs said there was a ``strong likelihood'' that the two reports received by the Government would be published on Thursday.

The cases involved are: the 1989 UDA murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane; the beating to death by a loyalist mob, in the presence of the police, of Catholic man Robert Hamill in Portadown in 1997; the murder of loyalist paramilitary Billy Wright inside Long Kesh prison in 1997; and the murder of Lurgan lawyer Rosemary Nelson in 1999.

Publication of the reports has already been delayed some weeks because of British ``national security''. But there have been suggestions that the British have been censoring the reports and their potentially damning findings, particularly in relation to the highly controversial Finucane case.

Judge Cory is to have recommended all four of the British-related cases should be dealt with by public inquiry.

© 2003 Irish Republican News