[Sinn Fein]

6 February 2000

McLaughlin welcomes IRA statement

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin responding to this afternoons statement from the IRA said:

``Yesterday Gerry Adams pointed out that Peter Mandelson's remarks on Thursday night had created difficulties for him in his discussions with the IRA. Their statement today is evidence of that.

``Republicans are not in default of the Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Mandelson knows this. There is no basis for the British government to suspend the institutions.

``While the IRA are critical of Peter Mandelson it is my view that the thrust of the IRA statement will assist the process. I welcome their assertion that the issue of arms can be resolved in an acceptable way and is a necessary goal of the peace process.''

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