Irish American Information Service

02/25/04 10:48 EST

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has been accused by Sinn Féin of "of spouting off at the mouth in Westminster" and trying to 'out-Paisley' the Rev Ian Paisley.

Responding to a warned issued by the leader of the UUP that his party would pull out of talks on the review of the Belfast Agreement next week unless action was taken against Sinn Féin, Mr Martin McGuinness said such comments were unhelpful.

Leading a Sinn Féin delegation into a meeting with the Irish premier, Mr Bertie Ahern this evening, Mr McGuinness said past experience of progress within the peace process showed movement can only be made through dialogue.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Trimble demanded sanctions against Sinn Féin over the alleged involvement of the IRA in the abduction and beating of a dissident republican in Belfast last week.

In a statement, An Phoblacht today said it has been told by republican sources that "the IRA did not authorise any action against Bobby Tohill". The four man have been charged with abduction and grievous bodily harm, but a charge of IRA membership was not proceeded with.

Mr McGuinness asked "why was that [dropping the membership of the PIRA charge] done?" before suggesting it was because the Police Service of Northern Ireland wanted to "grab the weekend headlines".

He also accused the Police Service of Northern Ireland of a "very determined campaign to discredit Sinn Féin".

Mr McGuinness said he intended asking the Taoiseach during their meeting this evening to make the point to the British government that the PSNI campaign against SF must be stopped.

He also said he supported Mr Ahern's assertion that all paramiliarism must end "but it's one thing saying that, and another making it happen."

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