Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein to meet 32-County Sovereignty Movement

Sinn Fein is to meet political representatives of the Real IRA, its assembly member Gerry Kelly has said.

Mr Kelly said recent attacks by dissident republicans meant there was an urgent need for dialogue.

He will lead the talks with the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, which he said will take place within weeks.

However, the 32-County Sovereignty Movement later played down the expectation of talks.

The group said it had received correspondence, but no discussions had been arranged.

It said it believed talks were to focus on issues surrounding dissident republican prisoners held in Maghaberry Prison in County Antrim.

It claimed no firm arrangement on a wider meeting had yet been agreed.

Earlier on Friday, Mr Kelly said Sinn Fein had been "very clear that we are prepared to talk with these groups, and that they have the absolute right to disagree with the Sinn Fein strategy".

On Tuesday, a 200lb car bomb went off outside a Londonderry police station causing extensive damage to nearby shops.

A day later, a booby-trap bomb fell from underneath a soldier's car outside his home in Bangor, County Down. No-one was hurt.