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December 13, 2004

12/13/04 - DUP Breaks Off Contact with Irish Government

12/13/04 10:06 EST

The Democratic Unionist Party said this evening it was
breaking off contact with the Irish Government over remarks
by the Taoiseach that demands for photographic evidence of
IRA decommissioning were unworkable.

Party leader, the Rev Ian Paisley accused the Government of
trying to "double-cross" the DUP, according to reports.

A Government spokeswoman said they were aware of the
development and may issue a statement later today.

Earlier, following a meeting with Sinn Fein in Dublin, Mr
Ahern said the DUP's demands for photographs were "not
workable". It was the issue of photographic verification of
IRA disarmament which led to the breakdown last week of
talks aimed at a comprehensive agreement on the restoration
of devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the meeting with Sinn Féin President, Mr
Gerry Adams, and the party's chief negotiator, Mr Martin
McGuinness, Mr Ahern said it would be "insanity" at this
stage not to find a way of settling all the issues standing
in the way of Northern Ireland power sharing.

"We were happy with John de Chastelain," he said. "Then
there was the issue of further witnesses, we were happy with
that. We had the issue of photographs and that's not
workable so we have to try to find some other way. We were
very close last Wednesday. There are one or two issues that
have to be resolved and we believe it's possible to resolve
these," he said.

He said the issues regarding alleged IRA criminality and
paramilitary activity were "not that much different" to
those set out last October, when a deal with Mr David
Trimble and the UUP failed.

Earlier today, Mr Adams said that republicans were highly
sensitive to any alleged links between them and criminality.
He said commitments given by the IRA on ending its
activities should be enough for the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern.

"You cannot be a criminal and a Republican activist. You
cannot be involved in any criminality and involved in
republican activism," Mr Adams said.

"If we get a statement from the IRA which says they will not
be involved in any activities which would jeopardise or run
against an agreement, that should be good enough for everyone."

Mr Adams also said the Governments "have to make it clear to
Ian Paisley that if they, the DUP, will not come on board
this process then the Taoiseach and the British Prime
Minister are going to continue with it anyway".

This morning's meeting in Government Buildings came amid
growing acrimony between Mr Adams and Mr Ahern over the
criminality issue and over the release of the killers of Det
Garda Jerry McCabe.

The Taoiseach yesterday contradicted Mr Adams's assertion
that the Government had given the Sinn Féin leader an
understanding in 1998 that they would be released as "not

The Taoiseach said Mr Adams was "wrong" on the matter. Sinn
Féin's Mr Aengus Ó Snodaigh called Mr Ahern a "liar" in

Mr Adams later appealed to Democratic Unionist Party leader
the Rev Ian Paisley to meet him for face-to-face talks.

Following talks in Downing Street with Mr Tony Blair, Mr
Adams said: "All of the difficulties that remain are
compounded by the fact that Ian Paisley will not talk to me,
that Ian Paisley will not come forward to put his
suggestions, his problems and concerns in a face-to-face way."

Mr Adams said the issue of photographs was "dead and gone
and buried in Ballymena." He was referring to Mr Paisley's
constituency. "I don't think there is any possibility of
resurrecting that issue."

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