Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

23 October 2003 Edition

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Republicans deliver

On Tuesday, republicans - both Sinn Féin and the IRA - delivered on their side of the agreed sequence of events involving unionists, republicans and the two governments.

A tremendous opportunity, the result of months of contacts and negotiations, was there for the taking. The IICD said it witnessed a third event in which the IRA put weapons beyond use in accordance with the governments' scheme. This was not easily achieved. Such republican-led initiatives are difficult for all republicans. Many activists will have reservations about the turn of events, but we have a broader vision.

Despite the strenuous efforts of others, David Trimble chose to change his mind - to break his commitment to what was a carefully worked out sequence of events and statements that would have put the Peace Process right back on track.

But the importance of what happened on Tuesday before David Trimble's petulant display should not be underestimated.

What was in place on Tuesday was a groundbreaking agreement between republicans and unionists that followed months of intensive talks. That dialogue between Sinn Féin and the UUP is in itself of huge significance.

This direct and frank dialogue is key to building further political progress. This is a time for measured comments because there is still a will among republicans to build on the significant progress that was made. But there are very profound difficulties and many republicans cannot see a way around the situation where one party unilaterally moves to suspend a sequence that was agreed.

Nevertheless, Sinn Féin will not give up on this process. Republicans will continue to engage in a bid to move forward and see the political institutions re-established after the elections.

For the immediate future, we are facing into the most crucial election campaign ever. It is vital, that we emerge from those elections with increased political strength and to strengthen the hand of our negotiators.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1