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Pictures row threat to Irish peace deal.

Byline: By DAN McGINN

A ROW over photographs today threatened to derail the Northern Ireland power-sharing deal.

The Democratic Unionists have been pressing for photographic evidence of the completion of IRA disarmament.

But Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, whose party has approved the political aspects of the British and Irish governments' package, last night appeared to flatly reject the idea of photographs.

The West Belfast MP said: "I recognise that some unionists do have genuine concerns about verification of arms being put beyond use, but Ian Paisley has to recognise that the IRA will not submit to a process of humiliation."

The IRA last night confirmed in a one-line statement that it has been in talks with Canadian General John de Chastelain and his American colleague Andrew Sens, of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

It is believed that republicans were prepared to have Protestant and Catholic clergy join General de Chastelain to witness the putting of IRA weapons beyond use.

But they viewed a photograph a step too far, that in the context of comments from the Rev Ian Paisley, the DUP leader, that the IRA must don sackcloth and ashes, it was an attempt to humiliate them.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are about to reveal in Belfast the deal they have been working on to revive power sharing in Northern Ireland.

CAPTION(S):

STILL DIVIDED: Sinn Fein leaders Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, and (right) Ian Paisley
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 8, 2004
Words:245
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