02/01/05 07:44 EST

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams today expressed doubt about
whether the Irish Government is really opposed to sanctions
against his party over the Northern Bank raid.

As British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish premier
Bertie Ahern prepared for a Downing Street briefing from
police on both sides of the Irish border, Mr Adams was
unconvinced by Dublin`s protestations yesterday that it was
against sanctions.

"The British Government is currently imposing sanctions
against Sinn Fein," the West Belfast MP said.

"Is the Taoiseach (Mr Ahern) demanding that this
discrimination be ended? Not to my knowledge. The Irish
Government joined with the British Government to form the
so-called Independent Monitoring Commission and agreed to
the British Secretary of State (Paul Murphy) being given
powers outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement."

"I am unconvinced, therefore, about protestations of
opposition to sanctions. Nationalists and republicans are
understandably and increasingly sceptical of the attitude of
the two Governments."

Police claims that the IRA carried out the GBP£26.5 million
raid on the Northern Bank`s Belfast headquarters in December
shattered hopes that power-sharing could be restored in
Northern Ireland this side of the British General Election.

Unionists are demanding Sinn Fein be excluded from any
future devolved government until all alleged IRA activity
ends for good.

Democratic Unionist Assembly member Sammy Wilson today said
the response of the two Governments to Northern Ireland
police chief Hugh Orde`s assessment had been abysmal.

The East Antrim MLA argued: "In the December negotiations it
was stated that where a party was found to be in default the
others would not be held back by their actions. The Chief
Constable has made it very clear that republicans are in
default, so I`m expecting the Governments to live up to
their commitment and punish the wrongdoers."

"They must agree to exclude Sinn Fein from any devolution
arrangements until they have proved they will live up to
commitments to abandon criminality and terrorism."

A preliminary report by the Independent Monitoring
Commission (IMC) paramilitary watchdog is expected to be
completed by the end of the week.

It is expected to back Mr Orde`s assessment that the IRA
carried out the robbery, despite categoric denials by the
organisation and Sinn Fein leaders.

The Chief Constable and the commissioner of the Irish
Republic`s police, Noel Conroy, were expected today to take
the two Prime Ministers through the intelligence that led to
their assessment.

Despite massive setbacks in the Northern Ireland peace
process, Mr Blair and Mr Ahern were to map out a programme
of activity for 2005 at the Downing Street talks.

The Taoiseach will also use the meeting to press for a
public apology on behalf of the Conlon family.

Gerry Conlon and his late father Guiseppe were both jailed
over the 1974 bomb attack on the Horse and Groom pub in
Guildford, Surrey, that killed five people.

Their sentences were quashed in 1989 following a major
campaign, but the Conlon family have continued to lobby for
further recognition of the miscarriage.

They received Mr Ahern`s backing in Dublin last week, and Mr
Murphy has said he believed Mr Blair was on the verge of
meeting their demands.

Nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan was also due to meet Mr.
Blair at Downing Street today.

The Foyle Assembly member was expected to discuss how
devolution in Northern Ireland could be revived and also
raise the Conlon case.

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