By a Staff Reporter Hopes that the Provisional IRA might agree to a ceasefire in Northern Ireland rose this week with the news that a fivestrong delegation from the Irish branch of Pax Christi, the International Catholic Movement for Peace, had held a meeting with Republicans in Dublin. Further talks will take place in the near future.
Fr Donal O'Mahoney, a Capuchin, who took part in the discussions as Pax Christi chaplain, said that the response from the Republicans was generally "most cordial." The meeting took place in the City Hotel, Dublin and topics discussed included the minimal IRA conditions for a protracted truce and the fears of Prostestants in the North.
Fr O'Mahoney explained that the Pox Christi initiative complemented that taken by four Protestant clergymen from Belfast who recently met the Provisional IRA and later visited Mr Rees, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. "We of Pax Christi in Dublin think that we would have a bargaining position maybe in relation to the Irish government," said Fr O'Mahoney.
The Pax Christi chaplain added that his movement had tried to organise a meeting on several occasions in the last three years, but without success. The discussions between Protestant church leaders and the Provisional IRA in Feakle, Co. Clare, provided an impetus.
The Dublin talks, said Fr O'Mahoney, were intended as no more than a preliminary for further discussions. He warned: "I don't think anybody should overestimate it."