British officials believed that the Irish government’s decision to meet Gerry Adams shortly after the IRA ceasefire showed “indecent haste”, declassified files reveal.
Former taoiseach Albert Reynolds shook hands with the Sinn Fein president and SDLP leader John Hume following a meeting in Dublin a week after republicans called a halt to the killing in August 1994.
Confidential briefings from the NIO, released at the Public Record Office, show that a meeting between Mr Reynolds, Mr Adams and Mr Hume following the ceasefire was considered “to reflect indecent haste, although clearly designed to tie Adams into a process from which he personally would not be able to escape, no matter what the republican movement did”.
The IRA had declared a ceasefire in August 1994, followed by the main loyalist paramilitaries in October that year.
It led to the beginning of public contact between the British and Irish governments and Sinn Fein.
Exploratory talks between the British government and Sinn Fein commenced before Christmas that year.
In February 1995 the British and Irish governments signed frameworks documents on the Northern Ireland peace process. The NIO files said that met with a “generally favourable” response from nationalist parties, a “bitterly antagonistic” reaction from mainstream unionism and the Alliance Party, while the churches, business community and loyalist parties adopted varying positions of “less than outright rejection”.