IRA ends 30 years of violence

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

The British, Irish and US governments welcomed the statement as “historic” provided the Roman Catholic paramilitary group matched its words with deeds.

But the head of the province’s main Protestant party was more sceptical.

The IRA’s order to abandon their armed campaign to unite Northern Ireland, which is mostly Protestant, with the Irish Republic came into effect at 0100 AEST.

Supporters say the move is designed to revive the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement and the power-sharing institutions that have been suspended.

It comes against the backdrop of worldwide revulsion over terrorism, especially in the light of the recent London bombings, a similar tactic once used by the IRA itself.

“All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms,” the group said, adding its militants “have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programs through exclusively peaceful means”.

It said that militants “must not engage in any other activities whatsoever” and described the order as compulsory.

But the statement stopped short of disbanding the organisation, as demanded by leading Protestants, and it also omitted any apology for past bombings.

“Our decisions have been taken to advance our republican and democratic objectives, including our goal of a united Ireland,” the group said.

“We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern released separate and joint statements welcoming the breakthrough.

“If the IRA’s words are borne out by actions, it will be a momentous and historic development,” the two men said in a joint statement.

“This may be the day when finally after all the false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaces war, politics replaces terror on the island of Ireland,” added Blair in a separate comment. “This is a step of unparallelled magnitude in the recent history of Northern
Ireland.”

In Washington, US President George W Bush’s chief spokesman Scott McClellan called the announcement “an important and potentially historic statement”.

But Ian Paisley, the fiery leader of Northern Ireland’s main Protestant party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), was far more cautious, noting that the IRA statement lacked an explicit call to end criminal activity.

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