[Sinn Fein]

14 January 1997

Mayhew and Wheeler contradictions

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin tonight accused British Ministers of making contradictory statements. Mr. McLaughlin said:

``Yesterday in Derry and again in Belfast today, we had Patrick Mayhew insisting that the British government did not consider there to be a breach of the Loyalist ceasefire. Today we had his so-called Security Minister John Wheeler acknowledging that there had indeed been breaches. We also had his Chief Constable confirm yesterday that Loyalists were responsible for recent murder bids on republicans.

``When John Major rejected the latest Hume/Adams proposals, himself and Patrick Mayhew were at pains to point out that in the event of a second IRA cessation they would depend on their security services to decide the validity of such a cessation.

``Now, in the last twenty-four hours, his Security Minister and his Chief Constable have both said that they believe the Loyalist cease-fire to have been broken. Are we now to believe that the sources which Mr. Major and Patrick Mayhew were willing to put their faith in when assessing the validity of an IRA cessation have suddenly become unreliable.

``Is Patrick Mayhew now saying that he does not have confidence in the assessment of his Chief Constable and his Security Minister.

``The past two days have only served to highlight the double standards being practised by the British government and the Ulster Unionists. The British government should stop talking out of both sides of its mouth and start inclusive all-party negotiations without preconditions immediately.''

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