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Year 2001 No. 39, March 1, 2001 Archive Search Home Page

British and Irish Governments Put Pressure on Sinn Fein

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

British and Irish Governments Put Pressure on Sinn Fein

Growing Opposition to "Star Wars"

Selby Rail Tragedy

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British and Irish Governments Put Pressure on Sinn Fein

Tony Blair and the Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, have met for talks at Downing Street. According to news reports, on these talks will hinge the possibility of round-table discussions on Thursday or Friday involving the two governments and the pro-Good Friday Agreement parties at Hillsborough in the north of Ireland.

Pressure is being put on Sinn Fein that "concessions" are necessary to resolve outstanding issues of policing, decommissioning and demilitarisation. Bertie Ahern said before flying to London: "I do not share the view that it is just a matter of saying that the British Government have to move on these issues." Dealing specifically with the questions of decommissioning and demilitarisation, the Irish premier said: "The difficulty in those two issues is that it is between two armies – admittedly different kinds of armies, totally different." Thus propaganda is being done once again that it is the republican movement which is the problem, that they are the obstacle to achieving a breakthrough in the deadlock over the latest negotiations on the Dublin and London proposals regarding police reforms and decommissioning. This deadlock was once more said to be threatening the future of the devolved institutions of Northern Ireland.

It is turning truth on its head to accuse Sinn Fein of being an obstacle to the peace process. The British government would like things its own way in the north of Ireland, and only through the staunch struggles of those who have stood for the independence and reunification of Ireland were the conditions created for a Northern Ireland Assembly as a step on the road to building the Irish nation anew. With a general election in the offing, the British government would again like to push to resolve matters in its own favour. They are again presenting themselves as the reasonable party, the ones interested in peace, to this end.

But the political parties of the north of Ireland have the right to sort out their own affairs, such as the outstanding issue of the Policing Board which has not yet been established, and the necessary reforms to the policing of the six counties. Problems in this process are no excuse to disrupt the governing of the north of Ireland and force Sinn Fein to retreat from its stand by means of blackmail, and make it the scapegoat.

The British and Irish governments must end their attempts to interfere in the governing of Northern Ireland for their own ends.

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Growing Opposition to "Star Wars"

There is growing opposition to the National Missile Defence programme, "Son of Star Wars", of US imperialism.

On the eve of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels at the beginning of the week, Greenpeace issued a statement accusing Washington that deployment in space of the anti-missile system would promote a new nuclear arms race, and that billions of dollars will be spent to merely offer an illusion of protection.

Greenpeace said that the only beneficiaries will be the US weapons contractors that will make exorbitant amounts of money in a so-called solution that is expensive and faulty.

In Britain a number of actions are being organised against the NMD. A monthly picket is being organised by London CND and Labour CND with the demand "No British Bases for Star Wars!". The next action takes place on March 27 after a picket on February 27. A Public Seminar is being organised against Britain’s involvement in the Star Wars programme. This takes place on Tuesday, March 6 at the House of Commons, and is being organised by the Campaign for Peace in the Balkans and London CND.

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Selby Rail Tragedy

WDIE extends its heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of all those who lost their lives or were injured in the Selby rail tragedy.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, has asked the Health and Safety Executive to deliver an interim report on the crash.

John Prescott said that the two train drivers who died in the crash had "paid that final price" and "we should always remember they are often the ones, the workers, that do pay the price, along with the passengers".

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