Belfast Telegraph

David Cameron appeals for Northern Ireland's politicians to keep 'spirit' of peace process in mind

Mr Cameron said the creation of devolved power-sharing in Belfast was "one of the most inspiring things that I've seen"

By Claire Williamson

Prime Minister David Cameron has called on Northern Ireland's politicians to have the spirit of the peace process in mind as they undergo crisis talks to deal with the current political deadlock.

Stormont has been plunged into turmoil following the murder of ex-IRA man Kevin McGuigan in the Short Strand area of east Belfast in August.

There have been political ramifications after the police announced their assessment that members of the Provisional movement were involved in the father-of-nine's killing.

However the PSNI said there was no evidence at this stage that the killing was sanctioned by the organisation.

First minister Peter Robinson sought to have a four-week adjournment of the Assembly but was unsuccessful.

Subsequently the DUP leader has halted all meetings of the Executive while they concentrate on crunch talks hosted by the Secretary of State.

The UUP withdrew from the Executive and have subsequently walked out of crisis talks.

The DUP have since issued an ultimatum to the Secretary of State stating that party ministers will resign from the Executive if the Assembly is not adjourned or suspended immediately.

Today addressing David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the situation in Northern Ireland was "beyond tipping point".

DUP parliamentary group leader Nigel Dodds told MPs: "The Prime Minister will be aware that the situation in Northern Ireland - already grave following the IRA murder in August in Belfast - has escalated to new heights with the arrest today of the chairman of Sinn Fein in connection with that incident, and indeed other leading members of Sinn Fein. We warned about this earlier this week."

He warned:We have now reached the tipping point, indeed in my view we have gone beyond the tipping point."

He continued:"The First minister has met the secretary of state this morning, he has put a proposal to her. Does he (The Prime Minister) mow accept that unless he and others take action that we are in a very grave state as far as devolution is concerned.

"We want to see government but only those committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means can be in government. The people of Northern Ireland cannot be punished, it is Sinn Fein who should be dealt with.

"Does the prime minister agree?"

Mr Cameron said there is "no justification" for parmilitary organisations in Northern Ireland.

He recalled watching the peace process be put together and urged politicans to "have the spirit in mind".

He said: "First of all I agree with you that we are in a very difficult phase of these discussions in Northern Ireland. I obviously can't comment on the police operations that have taken place.

"But let me say this, there is no justification for paramilitary organisations and structures in Northern Ireland or indeed anywhere else in our country. They are a blight on our society and they are not wanted they should be disbanded on every occasion and on every side.

"The only thing I would appeal to members in the DUP, UUP SDLP the Sinn Fein members who don't take their seats in this house, as someone who sat on those benches and watched while the peace process was put together and the power sharing arrangements were put in place, it was one of the most inspiring things I have seen as a human being and a politician.

"To see politicians put aside their differences, put aside their concern about appalling things hat have happened in the past and decide to work together.

"And the appeal I would make to all is please have that spirit in in mind. It's an amazing thing you all did in Northern Ireland when you formed that administration and that assmebly weill do everythyingw e can to help you."

"Let's stick to the nobler processes and the great noble principles that were put together in the past and let's do it again."

Further reading:

Kevin McGuigan murder: Peter Robinson repeats call for Assembly adjournment after Bobby Storey arrest 

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