IRA attack creates credibility problem, - Bruton


THE use of lethal force by an IRA unit in a children's hospital a few days before Christmas created a credibility problem for the whole republican movement, the Taoiseach, Mr Bruton, said on Saturday.

Mr Bruton said that if Sinn Fein wanted to be accepted into talks as part of a political process based on accountability under the rule of law, then they would have to face up to the question of when, how and to whom individual IRA members should be account able when they directed and carried out such attacks.

If a similar operation had been carried out two years ago in a children's hospital in Sarajevo, rather than in Belfast, world public opinion would demand that the perpetrators and directors of it be made to account for themselves before the tribunal in The Hague, according to the Taoiseach.

The former Fianna Fail minister, Mr David Andrews, and his brother, Niall, an MEP, expressed their concern, in a joint statement yesterday, at what they described as the clear lack of progress in the peace process during the past year.

The feelings of isolation and frustration among nationalist communities at the logjam in the peace process were palpable, they added.

The fact that the British government had decided to play the "Orange card" due to its fragile position in the House of Commons had effectively guaranteed that there would be no progress in the peace process until after the next British general election, they continued.

The Andrews brothers said it was hoped that in the early part of 1997 the IRA would reinstate its ceasefire, "which must be unequivocal and permanent".