Republican sources deny split on killings


SOURCES have dismissed suggestions of a split in the republican movement following the killing of two RUC officers in Lurgan, Co Armagh. They claimed that the presumption of a breach was groundless.

The chairman of the all-party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, Mr Jim O'Keeffe, said yesterday that, if Sinn Fein wanted to be part of the democratic process, it was time ft, confronted "the reality that, whatever happens, there will in any event be a split in the republican movement".

"There are pathological mad dogs and bloodthirsty thugs who will not accept the democratic will of the people under any circumstances," Mr O'Keeffe added.

It was time for the Sinn Fein president, Mr Gerry Adams, to confront this fact and, "if such a split is inevitable, let us confront the consequences now

Meanwhile, there was no need for the Fianna Fail leadership to meet Sinn Fein, he added. A one-line message from Mr Adams that the IRA had declared a permanent ceasefire was all that was needed.

"Bertie Ahern has yet again equivocated over the possibility of a meeting with Gerry Adams. No such meeting is justified or indeed necessary.

"If it is predicated on the basis of Sinn Fein "moving forward with an unequivocal ceasefire" [quoting Mr Ray Burke] it is positively dangerous," he said.

Mr Burke repeated yesterday that a meeting between Mr Ahern and Sinn Fein before the Fianna Fail leader is elected Taoiseach next Thursday is "highly unlikely" after the double killings in Lurgan. However, he pointed out that Fianna Fail could not slam doors on the possibility of peace.

A Sinn Fein spokeswoman last night described Mr O'Keeffe's remarks as "not worthy of comment".