9 December 2004 Edition
Exclusive IRA statement
An Phoblacht today prints in full a statement from the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann.
It is clear from this statement that the IRA was prepared to move in an unprecedented way to liberate the peace process and in a way that deals with the genuine concerns of all reasonable people.
It would be unthinkable that this offer would be rejected or lost because of the impossible demands being made by a unionist leadership locked into the failed psychology of the past.
The London and Dublin governments have a big choice to make. Do they face up to the challenge of pressing ahead with the peace process or do they join Ian Paisley in his demand for a process of humiliation?
Full text of IRA Statement
"More than ten years ago, an IRA cessation publicly heralded the onset of the Irish peace process. Since then, the IRA has, time and again, demonstrated its commitment to sustaining and developing that process through a series of very significant and substantive initiatives.
In the context of the work to conclude a comprehensive agreement, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann decided:
- to support a comprehensive agreement by moving into a new mode which reflects our determination to see the transition to a totally peaceful society;
- all IRA Volunteers be given specific instructions not to engage in any activity which might thereby endanger that new agreement;
- the IRA leadership also decided that we will, in this context, conclude the process to completely and verifiably put all our arms beyond use;
- we instructed our representative to agree with the IICD the completion of this process, speedily, and if possible by the end of December;
- to further enhance public confidence we agreed to the presence of two clergymen as observers during this process.
The IRA leadership decided to contribute in this way to a comprehensive agreement to resolve all outstanding issues, including those of concern within unionism. For his part, Ian Paisley demanded that our contribution be photographed, and reduced to an act of humiliation.
This was never possible. Knowing this, he made this demand publicly as the excuse for his rejection of an overall agreement to create a political context with the potential to remove the causes of conflict. As the IRA leadership has said before, this is a context in which Irish republicans and unionists can, as equals, pursue our respective political objectives peacefully.
We restate our commitment to the peace process. But we will not submit to a process of humiliation.
We commend our Volunteers and the wider republican base for their patience and discipline in these testing times. Our commitment, like theirs, to our republican objectives is undiminished.
We thank those who have made genuine contributions to the efforts to find solutions to ongoing problems. While acknowledging these efforts, we reiterate our view that progress cannot be made by pandering to the demands of those who are against change.
The search for a just and lasting peace is a challenging one. The IRA leadership has risen to that challenge. The British Government and the leaders of unionism must do likewise."
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau