clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

IRA's Sinn Fein expelled from N. Ireland talks

Britain and Ireland Friday temporarily expelled the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party from Northern Ireland's peace talks after the Irish Republican Army was blamed for two recent killings.

Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Mo Mowlam and Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews were expected to formally deliver the news to Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at Stormont, the center of British administration in Northern Ireland, where negotiations among the six remaining parties resume Monday.The governments' joint text was expected to be made public afterward. Of critical importance to Sinn Fein would be the governments' explanation of the rules governing when the party can resume a full part in the negotiations, which are supposed to conclude by May.

The BBC reported the document specifies a March 10 return date.

Officials with Sinn Fein and the British and Irish government, all speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the party's expulsion Friday.

Andrews, speaking to reporters in Dublin before flying to Belfast, said his side was concerned about securing guarantees for keeping Sinn Fein "in touch" with the negotiations and determining the length of their expulsion.

Sinn Fein was invited to join the talks on condition the Irish Republican Army maintain its July 1997 cease-fire and that Sinn Fein formally renounce the use of violence for political purposes.

The decision came after Northern Ireland's police chief, Ronnie Flanagan, ruled last week that the IRA was responsible for the slayings of two Belfast men.

On Monday, Mowlam called for Sinn Fein's expulsion because of the alleged IRA involvement in the killings.

But Sinn Fein refused and lodged a legal appeal still pending in Dublin High Court.