IRA 'interested in building peace'

Mr Adams said there were question marks over loyalist cessations

Progress made since the IRA's first ceasefire must be built upon, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has said.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the group's cessation, he said the IRA was genuinely interested in building the peace process.

Mr Adams said there was a heavy onus on both the DUP and Sinn Fein to agree measures within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement "that can bring all outstanding issues to a definitive and conclusive closure".

The IRA declared its first ceasefire on 31 August 1994.

Mr Adams said the cessation had given birth "to enormous hope and expectation for the future and the then embryonic peace process was given significant impetus".

However, he added: "Ten years on and the peace process amounts to no more than the cessations, with many question marks over the loyalist cessations."

Much of the essential aspects of the Agreement - on human rights and equality, on policing and justice matters and demilitarisation - had not been implemented, he said.

Also speaking on the 10th anniversary, Church of Ireland Primate Robin Eames said people in Northern Ireland needed to start trusting each other for the political process to work.

Dr Eames said people wanted a new sense of trust

The archbishop said he was hearing conflicting messages from politicians and those on the street.

Dr Eames said the sense of euphoria at the time "was very quickly overtaken by suspicion and by questions".

"I would feel that in the years since there has been a gradual awareness that we haven't had the level of atrocities - if I may put it that way - that we were experiencing before that," he said.

"And of course, we are thankful for that. What, in fact, I think has given grounds for some of the suspicion... has been the feeling that punishment shootings were going on - there was no satisfactory or clear renunciation of violence," he said on Tuesday.

"If you take it in a historical context, I would say more people now are thinking that (the ceasefire) was quite a significant stage that was reached."

'A stable society'

Also speaking on Tuesday, Catholic primate Archbishop Sean Brady paid tribute to the work of church leaders towards the IRA ceasefire.

Dr Brady said it was time for all sides to take risks

"I paid tribute to the role of clergy - both Catholic and Protestant - in bringing about the ceasefire, because ceasefires just don't happen, they need a lot of preparation, patient talks and discussion," said Dr Brady.

"I wanted to pay tribute in a special way to those Protestant clergy, who with great patience and courage, risked their own lives and livelihood during that period."

Ten years on from the first ceasefire, a culture of peace was developing, he said.

He added: "It is again time for all sides to take risks, and such an opportunity presents itself to the parties as they face into talks next month in Kent."

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