‘Hold talks with dissidents’ - call

A Derry peace worker has called on the British, Irish and US governments to get around the table with dissident republicans in a bid to end their campaign of violence.

Michael Doherty, from the Peace and Reconciliation Group in Bishop Street (top right), said that the British and Irish government have so far refused to sit down with dissidents, but he called on them to open a door for dialogue in light of recent attacks in Derry and across the north. “If I was accepted by all parties I will faciliate talks with dissidents,” said Mr Doherty. “As long as there is a clear understanding that I am totally against violence. I will be impartial when I facilitate these talks but there needs to be an agenda. We cannot continue like this. Dialogue needs to happen to prevent more deaths. There needs to be an agenda, something that attracts everyone to the table. The government would want a ceasefire, the dissidents would want moves on British withrawal, prison issues and an amnesty.”

A spokesman for the Taoiseach’s office said: “The British and Irish Governments are in full agreement that meaningful exchanges “are not possible with groups who are not committed to peaceful means of pursuing their goals. The Government has also made clear on numerous occasions that those who are currently engaging in violence against the will of the people of Ireland, expressed in their overwhelming endorsement of the GFA through referenda north and south, should cease such activities immediately.”