30 October 2003 Edition
IRA honoured its commitments
In a statement received on Wednesday evening by An Phoblacht, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has described the sequence of events to which the army and others agreed. It makes clear that it honoured its commitments while others did not - a clear reference to David Trimble and the Ulster Unionists - and points out that there was no credible explanation proferred.
Responding to the statement, Sinn Féin representative Gerry Kelly said the IRA had outlined its view of the events that unfolded the previous week.
"There is a lot of anger amongst nationalists and republicans that once again it was republicans who delivered on their part of an agreement and once again others did not," he said.
"The IRA played a key part in this agreement. They issued a statement, they engaged with the IICD and they put a large quantity of arms beyond use.
"It is remarkable that given the manner in which this agreement wasn't followed through on, that these comments are so measured. I believe that this is in line with the ongoing commitment of the IRA leadership to the Peace Process."
The full text of the IRA statement reads:
"After protracted and detailed discussions, the leadership of the IRA recently made decisions to take initiatives with the objective of facilitating political progress.
These decisions were made after the UUP and the two governments had agreed to make their contributions as part of an agreed sequence. We had sight of their stated positions and they had sight of ours.
Our initiatives, in line with our stated position, related to our commitment to resolve the issue of arms and our view of remarks by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. It was part of an agreement and an agreed sequence, which involved:
o The announcement of an election;
o A statement by Gerry Adams;
o A statement from the IRA leadership;
o An act of putting arms beyond use;
o A report by the IICD;
o A statement by David Trimble;
o A joint statement by the two governments.
As part of this we met with the IICD with a view to implementing a process to put arms beyond use at the earliest opportunity.
We, in line with that, carried out a further act of putting arms beyond use under the agreed scheme. This involved the largest amount of arms to date.
The political process these initiatives were designed to facilitate has been halted without a credible explanation from those who stopped it.
The leadership of the IRA honoured our commitments. Others have not fulfilled theirs. This is totally unacceptable. When we give our word we keep it. We expect others to do the same. Until they do so there can be little prospect of progress on the issues they profess concern about.
Irish Republican Publicity, Bureau,