Ahern, Adams expected to meet in Dublin today


THE Fianna Fail leader, Mr Bertie Ahern, is expected to meet the Sinn Fein president, Mr Gerry Adams, in Dublin today, their first meeting since the IRA ceasefire broke down.

Despite official denials of disagreement among Fianna Fail front benchers, it is understood some members have questioned the wisdom of Mr Ahern meeting Mr Adams.

However, Mr Ahern, who has already had telephone contact with the Sinn Fein president since the Canary Wharf attack, is understood to have full front bench support now in proceeding with today's meeting.

He has already endorsed the Government's position in refusing to have face to face political meetings with Sinn Fein.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahern is continuing contacts with other figures in the peace process, including US senator George Mitchell, chairman of the international body on decommissioning, who was due to arrive in London last night.

Mr Ahern has proposed that, Mr Mitchell become peace envoy to Ireland.

The SDLP leader, Mr John Hume, held talks with Mr Ahern in Leinster House yesterday and agreed the best way to reinstate, the ceasefire was to hold all party talks as quickly as possible.

Mr Ahern has also discussed the peace process with an IRSP delegation from Belfast and is due to meet Dr John Alderdice, leader of the Alliance Party, in Dundalk tomorrow.