Loyalist ceasefire will stay solid unless IRA mounts North attacks

 

LOYALIST paramilitary leaders are not calling off their ceasefire and do not expect to resort to violence unless the IRA escalates its campaign and carries out attacks in Northern Ireland, according to senior loyalists.

However, loyalist leaders are still angry with the Government and do not foresee an early renewal of dialogue with Dublin.

The threat of loyalist attacks in the capital in retaliation for IRA bombings in London has already led to heightened security around the commercial centre of the city. Garda patrols have been stepped up and the Army has increased its bomb disposal squad in Dublin to pre ceasefire levels.

Security around the International Financial Services Centre and the Stock Exchange is being reviewed in case loyalists try to respond to the IRA's attack. on the London's financial institutions two weeks ago.

However, senior loyalist sources indicated this weekend there was no immediate prospect of them calling off their ceasefire. Despite criticism from very militant elements, there appears to be consensus on the "wait and see" policy between the leaderships of the main loyalist paramilitary organisations, the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Association.

The two organisations, which called a ceasefire in the aftermath of the IRA's "cessation" of its campaign in August, 1994, are understood to have agreed to hold their ceasefire for the present. However, they say they are still very angry with the Government after the recent breakdown in contacts.

The Progressive Unionist Party, which is close to the UVF, has cut off direct contact with Dublin and blames the Government for misleading it over the proximity talks initiative announced by Mr Spring earlier this month.

Sources close to the PUP say there is very great anger because they took the risk of travelling to Dublin for a meeting with the Government while other unionist parties had refused to take the same political risk.

The loyalists are hoping for political movement in the North in the coming months. They believe that if elections and talks are put off to the autumn, and there are IRA attacks in the North, the chances of a return to full-scale conflict are increased.

. The Garda Special Branch arrested five men in Dublin yesterday after a car was intercepted on the South Circular Road at lunchtime. Immediately after the arrests, streets around Christ Church were sealed off while the Army bomb squad examined another car, understood to have been stolen in Monaghan. The ear was found to be empty.

One of the men arrested is from Co Tipperary and is currently before the courts on matters related 10 IRA activity. Two others are from Clones, Co Monaghan, and two others from Patrickswell, Co Limerick. They were arrested under Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act and detained last night in the Bridewell Garda station.

The Army bomb disposal squad later examined a suspect car at Dublin Airport but this, too, was found to be empty. It is not believed to be connected with the incident at Christ Church.