Sinn Fein Sends Britain List of Questions As IRA Kills Again With AM-Britain-IRA Bombers
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ The IRA’s political ally has revived hopes for a British-Irish peace initiative for Northern Ireland with a communication on the offer, officials said Friday.
The Sinn Fein move comes amid the worst spate of violence in the province since the initiative was put forward Dec. 15. In the latest attack, an IRA car bomb killed a man and wounded his family in Lurgan, 25 miles southwest of Belfast.
Under the peace initiative, the IRA’s political ally Sinn Fein would have a place in peace talks on Northern Ireland if the IRA first puts down its arms. The outlawed group has fought British rule in the province for 24 years.
But the Roman Catholic-based party has delayed its verdict on the offer by demanding ″clarification.″ Britain and the Irish Republic have both rejected this as an attempt to start talks prior to an end to IRA violence.
Sinn Fein leaders have sent new questions on the initiative to Britain’s Northern Ireland Office in Belfast, the British and Irish governments said Friday. They refused to specify the questions.
Sir Patrick Mayhew, Britain’s top Northern Ireland official, said he would make the questions public ″with our comments within a matter of days, once we have had an opportunity to give them proper consideration.″
The IRA said it targeted John Anthony, 38, in the bomb attack because he worked as a cleaner in the local police station. The group includes civilian employees of Northern Ireland’s security forces on its list of targets.
The bomb, which was under Anthony’s car, threw Anthony’s 3-year-old daughter from the car onto the road, leaving the girl with serious face wounds and a broken leg. His wife and 9-year-old son had less serious injuries.
On Thursday night, a pro-British gunman killed a Catholic man in Belfast, shooting him several times in the head as he stood in the kitchen of his aunt’s home with a baby in his arms, police said. The infant was not seriously hurt.
More than 3,100 people have been slain in Northern Ireland since the IRA began fighting against British rule in 1969.
The IRA and an IRA splinter group have killed 12 people this year. Protestant-based loyalist gangs have killed 13, most of them members of the province’s Catholic minority, from which the IRA draws support.
A majority of deaths have come since mid-April, after the IRA called a three-day cease-fire that both governments dismissed as inadequate.