Bush Calls for 'Permanent End to Political Violence'

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN MCGINN

THERE can be no place for paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, US President George W. Bush said last night.

During St Patrick's Day celebrations at the White House, involving Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Mr Bush called for "a permanent end to all political violence" in the province.

The President said his government wanted: "A lasting peace for the people of Northern Ireland, a peace that will allow people to live free from terror and intimidation.

"We seek a region that is stable and prosperous and tolerant and locally governed.

"I commend Prime Minister Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair and all of those who are working so hard to implement the Good Friday Agreement.

"I call for a permanent end to all political violence. There is no place for paramilitaries in a democratic society."

The President was also due to discuss the deadlock over devolution and problems with paramilitarism with Mr Ahern.

Northern Ireland's politicians were also attending a reception in the White House hosted by Mr Bush. Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde were among the guests.

The reception was taking place against the backdrop of a fresh crisis at Stormont following Mr Orde's statement that the IRA was responsible for an attempted abduction of Belfast republican Bobby Tohill.

Unionists have been demanding sanctions against Sinn Fein in the talks taking place at Stormont on the future of devolution and the Good Friday Agreement. …