Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 14:13:28 CST
From: Brian Wright (
Subject: Ireland: British Labour Party/Sinn Fein talks
To:Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L (

British Labour Party confirms having had talks with Sinn Fein

The Irish Times, 30 December 1994

The British Labour Party yesterday announced its own exploratory talks with Sinn Fein and representatives of former loyalist paramilitary groups in a move mirroring the process involving the British government.

Labour's junior Northern Ireland spokesman, Mr Paul Murphy, spent 90 minutes in discussions with Sinn Fein members on December 19th at the House of Commons.

Backbench Labour MPs with republican sympathies have kept in contact with Sinn Fein over the years, but this was the first official meeting with a member of Labour's front bench.

The aim was to replicate the British government's talks with Sinn Fein, currently being conducted by officials.

A meeting with representatives of former loyalist paramilitary groups will also be held over the Christmas/New Year period.

Sinn Fein's delegation included Cllr Francie Molloy, of the party's national executive, Mr Gerry MacLochlainn, who represents the organisation in Britain, and Mr Danny Power.

They discussed policing, fair employment, job-creation and economic regeneration in talks which both sides described as useful and informative.

Mr Murphy said: We regarded this as exploratory talks with people from the same groups as the government had spoken to some weeks earlier. We discussed a range of issues and mine was mainly a listening role.

Mr MacLochlainn said the meeting had taken place at the request of Labour, but Sinn Fein was happy to talk to all parties. We stressed the need for full multilateral talks to begin immediately without preconditions, he said.