TEN YEARS ON: NO JUSTICE
On the tenth anniversary of the ceasefire announcement by the
Provisional IRA in 1994, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has
said that the cessation 'gave birth to enormous hope and
expectation for the future', but warned that such hope had not
The IRA ceasefire broke down in 1996 following what were
perceived to be acts of bad faith by the then British Prime
Minister, John Major, but was reinstated the following year.
In 1998, lengthy negotiations led to the signing of the
breakthrough Good Friday Agreement, which has since become mired
in disputes over continuing British bad faith and the failure of
the IRA to disband.
Mr Adams said today that the IRA ceasefire gave significant
impetus to the then embryonic peace process.
"The length of the IRA cessations, its discipline in the face of
ongoing British military and loyalist activities, and its
initiatives to sustain the current process, show that it is
genuinely interested in building the peace process.
"Ten years on and the peace process amounts to no more than the
cessations, with many question marks over the loyalist
"The political institutions have been in suspension for well
over a year and a half. The Good Friday Agreement has been
breached repeatedly by the British government and much of the
essential aspects of that agreement, on human rights and
equality, on policing and justice matters and demilitarisation,
have not been implemented."
Talks continue tomorrow as the marathon peace process,
effectively launched by the IRA ceasefire, seeks a way forward
after years of setbacks. The talks face major difficulties, not
least because the dominant unionist DUP is still refusing to
engage in direct talks with Sinn Fein.
Mr Adams said, however, that there had been "progress" in the
past ten years, "and much good work has been done".
"Although progress has been too slow it has to be built upon,"
he said. "Therefore as we mark the 10th anniversary of the IRA
cessation there is a heavy onus on all of the political parties,
though especially Sinn Féin and the DUP, and on the two
governments, but particularly the British government, to agree
measures within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement that can
bring all outstanding issues to a definitive and conclusive
"Not an easy task. But one nonetheless that those of us who want
progress must bend our will to in the time ahead."
Representatives from both the Irish and British governments and
the North's political parties are set for talks tomorrow in
Belfast. They will resume again in southern England in
mid-September, whebn they will be joined the Irish Taoiseach and
British Prime Minister
Today, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, described the IRA ceasefire
as a "blessing" that had saved many lives.
Mr Ahern said the Provisional IRA's ceasefire allowed the space
for politicians and community leaders from across the sectarian
divide to set the peace process in motion.
"But the peace we enjoy today is an incomplete one," he said.
"It is incomplete because both communities remain divided in
many interface areas and towns in Northern Ireland, bringing
with it sectarian tensions, the dislocation of families and
"There is a particular obligation on political leaders to show
the way to a Northern Ireland that has replaced suspicion and
hostility with trust and dialogue and violence, or the threat of
violence, with the rule of law.
Mr Ahern insisted that he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
remain committed to bring about the full implementation of the
Agreement through the re-establishment of the institutions.
Mr Ahern said their primary objectives should be ending all
forms of paramilitary activity and to see the decommissioning of
all paramilitary weapons "to an early timetable and on a
He also called for a commitment to stable partnership government
and for Sinn Fein to "accept and support policing and to set the
context for devolving policing and justice".
* A number of bomb alerts in Belfast today were blamed on
breakaway republican militants marking the anniversary in their
own way. Devices placed on the M1 motorway, at Belfast City
hall and the Park Avenue hotel were later declared hoaxes.