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Blair warns Adams of Sinn Féin’s exclusion if illegal IRA activities continue

Tony Blair warned Sinn Féin yesterday it would be locked out of a power-sharing government unless its IRA allies ceased all paramilitary and criminal activity. This was the first time the prime minister had explicitly countenanced the possibility of an administration in Northern Ireland from which Sinn Féin was excluded. After Mr Blair’s first meeting with the Sinn Féin leadership since December’s Belfast bank robbery, which police blame on the IRA, Downing Street said: “While he still wanted to find a way forward which included Sinn Féin, it was his duty . . . to underline, in the starkest terms, that that would not be possible if paramilitary and criminal activity continued.” The IRA has denied involvement in the £26.5m theft from Northern Bank. No arrests have been made, and the van used in the raid has still to be recovered. Full Story

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