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16 September 2004 Edition

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'Closure' for republicans will be a United Ireland

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said this week that there needed to be 'closure' at the Leeds Castle talks. Republicans agree that there does indeed need to be closure on many issues, not least those for which Blair himself is directly responsible. These include the truth about collusion, real demilitarisation, the equality and human rights agenda and policing.

On all of these matters the British government has been found wanting. It has undermined the Good Friday Agreement for the past six years. It has failed to confront those within its own system who are actively anti-Agreement. Unless it shapes up there will be no progress at Leeds Castle.

Republicans recognise their obligations to deal with the legacy of conflict. We have made much progress on the issue of arms in initiatives which were simply pocketed by the British government and unionists before they erected further road-blocks. No-one should under-estimate the anger of republicans at such tactics. We will not be taken for granted.

Tony Blair should bear in mind that republicans have been flexible and willing to compromise. But he should not forget that we are republicans and closure for us will only come about when our country is reunited. We will continue to be patient in assisting the British government to replace injustice with justice and to move towards self-determination for the Irish people.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1