22 July 1999 Edition
IRA statement as cessation enters third year
In a statement issued to An Phoblacht on Wednesday night, 21 July, Oglaigh na hÉireann outline the reality of the current crisis confronting the Peace Process. The IRA cessation is entering its third year. Their guns remain silent. Yet the British government has failed the process, showing a lack of political will to confront unionism.
The IRA places responsibility for the stalled peace process firmly at the feet of the British government. It says the Good Friday Agreement has not delivered the progress expected and that unionist political leaders remain opposed to a democratic peace settlement.
The IRA says it is now the responsibility of the British government to repair the damage done to the argument that the political process can deliver change.
The following is the full text of the IRA statement:
The argument that the present political process can deliver real and meaningful change has been significantly undermined by the course of events over the past 15 months. This culminated in the failure last week to establish the political institutions set out in the Good Friday Agreement.
The agreement has failed to deliver tangible progress and its potential for doing so has substantially diminished in recent months.
The credibility and motivation of unionist leaders who signed up to the agreement is clearly open to question. They have repeatedly reneged on the commitments they made in signing the agreement and successfully blocked the implementation of its institutional aspects. It is clearly their intention to continue their obstructionist tactics indefinitely. There is irrefutable evidence that the unionist political leadership remains, at this time, opposed to a democratic peace settlement.
Recent events at Stormont cannot obscure the fact that the primary responsibility for the developing political crisis rests squarely with the British government. They have once again demonstrated a lack of political will to confront the Unionist veto.
Over the past 5 years we have called and maintained two prolonged cessations of military operations to enhance the peace process and underline our definitive commitment to its success. We have contributed in a meaningful way to the creation of a climate which would facilitate the search for a durable settlement.
The first of these cessations floundered on the demand by the Conservative government for an IRA surrender. Those who demand the decommissioning of IRA weapons lend themselves, in the current political context, inadvertently or otherwise, to the failed agenda which seeks the defeat of the IRA. The British government have the power to change that context and should do so.
It remains our view that the roots of conflict in our country lie in British involvement in Irish affairs. Responsibility for repairing the damage to the argument that the present political process can deliver real change rests primarily with the British government.
- P O'Neill