The British government has announced plans for new talks with a body that includes unionist paramilitaries in a bid to prevent a summer of violence.
The main unionist paramilitaries appear to have lost interest in negotiations crucial to fending off the threat of sectarian violence at interfaces between the two communities.
British officials are reportedly about to call for meetings with the Loyalist Commission, an umbrella group including churchmen, politicians and paramilitary chiefs, in order to keep the peace.
“I want to encourage everyone to make the effort, once again, to work positively for the benefit of both their own communities and of the wider community,” British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has announced that party colleagues Gerry Kelly and Alex Maskey have been asked to hold talks with other political parties and community groups in order to ensure a peaceful summer.
“Last year we experienced the quietest summer for decades,” he said. “This did not come about by accident. It was a direct result of a concerted effort and hard work by many people from both sections of the community.”
“ I will also use my influence as leader of our party in whatever way possible, including by direct public appeal, to help ensure the whole community experiences a peaceful summer.”