Northern Ireland Back in Crisis as Unionists Quit
David McKittrick Ireland Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
HOPES FOR an IRA decommissioning move remained alive in Belfast last night even as Ulster Unionist ministers pulled out of the Northern Ireland administration.
The resignations mean devolution will shortly have to be placed on ice unless the IRA makes an important move on weaponry. The Unionist leader, David Trimble, announced he was withdrawing his three ministers from the cross-community Executive.
Since the two Paisleyite ministers are also pulling out, this will leave the Belfast Executive consisting of five nationalists and five empty seats. That is not considered to be a viable government.
While the institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement are clearly in imminent danger, any sense of crisis in Belfast took second place to the hope of a decommissioning breakthrough.
Negotiations involving republicans, Unionists and the British and Irish governments continued yesterday, with Mr Trimble spending almost an hour in a meeting with Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein's president.
A last-minute deal on decommissioning would possibly rescue the devolved government from collapse. The Government, which has up to 10 days to work out its next move, is fervently hoping that something will emerge to avoid placing the Executive in suspension.
Mr Trimble has engineered a slow-motion collapse of the institutions with the intention of placing maximum pressure on the IRA to decommission. He himself resigned as First Minister at the beginning of July.
He said yesterday: "The IRA has not only failed to decommission but it has continued to engage in violence and murder along with loyalist paramilitaries. This is therefore a blatant breach of …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Northern Ireland Back in Crisis as Unionists Quit. Contributors: David McKittrick Ireland Correspondent - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 19, 2001. Page number: 12. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.