THE IRA is edging towards an historic declaration that its war with Britain is over, sources close to the Northern Ireland peace process have disclosed.
It is believed to be nearing a decision to announce that it has given up its military operations and will decommission all weapons and end punishment beatings and surveillance activities.
Martin McGuinness, Sinn Feinâ€™s chief negotiator, Education Minister in the suspended Ulster Executive and a former IRA veteran, is spearheading secret moves to persuade IRA leaders to remove for ever the threat of violence hanging over Ulster. Both the Irish and British Governments are believed to have set an unofficial deadline of the end of February for a substantial move from the IRA.
Sinn Fein leaders and the Irish Government are believed to be warning Tony Blair that a suspension of next Mayâ€™s elections in Northern Ireland would ruin the delicate...