27 February 1997 Edition

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Peace must take precedence

``The issue of peace must take precedence over this election,'' said Sinn Fein Vice-President Pat Doherty during a press conference this week.

Doherty stressed that the task for Sinn Féin and its electorate was to reconstruct the peace process leading to credible and all inclusive peace negotiations. ``When such a process is genuinely being offered, we could, with some hope of success, seek to persuade the IRA to unequivocally restore its cessation,'' he said.

However, sounding a note of caution, Doherty told reporters that ``critical to the success or failure of the search for peace is the willingness of the participants to engage in an inclusive process. What we had was a period of ceasefire-but no negotiations,''

And when questioned about John Bruton's weekend remarks that Sinn Féin appeared to be looking at military not political negotiations, Doherty reminded those present how Bruton had unfortunately made similar unhelpful remarks throughout the past two years. ``Perhaps Mr Bruton should address his remarks to the British army, the RUC and RIR, the largest armed groupings in the Six Counties,'' Doherty said.

 


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