Peace Process

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st May 2003.

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Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 11:30 am, 21st May 2003

I agree that trust is absolutely necessary for the process to succeed. There is no question but that the breakdown of trust was the reason for the Assembly's suspension last October, which was a direct consequence of paramilitary activity. My hon. Friend knows that during the past few weeks various efforts have been made to try to ensure that we get greater clarity from the IRA. We have made some progress, but not enough.

It is interesting that this week's Belfast News Letter contained the results of an opinion poll. It clearly showed:

"If IRA made a statement that they would never again use weapons under any circumstances", support in Northern Ireland for the restoration of the institutions would greatly increase. Indeed, the poll also showed:

"If IRA decommissioned all weapons and disbanded", that support would increase even more.