Flash: IRA offer withdrawn
The following is the full text of a statement issued tonight by
the Provisional IRA
In August 1994, the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann announced
a complete cessation of all military operations. We did so to
enhance the democratic peace process and underline our
definitive commitment to its success.
That cessation ended in February 1996 because the British
Government acted in bad faith when the then British Prime
Minister John Major and Unionist leaders squandered that
unprecedented opportunity to resolve the conflict.
However, we remained ready to engage positively and in July 1997
we reinstated the cessation on the same basis as before.
Subsequently, we honoured the terms of our cessation with
discipline and honesty, despite numerous attempts to
misrepresent those terms by others.
Since then - over a period of almost eight years - our
leadership took a succession of significant and ambitious
initiatives designed to develop or save the peace process. Those
* Engaging with the Independent International Commission on
* Agreeing that independent inspectors could inspect the contents
of a number of IRA dumps, allowing regular re-inspections to
ensure that the weapons remained secure and the reporting of
what they had done both publicly and to the IICD;
* Setting out a clear context for dealing definitively with the
issue of arms;
* Acknowledging past mistakes, hurt and pain the IRA has caused
to others and extending our sincere apologies and condolences
for the deaths and injuries of non-combatants caused by us;
* Agreeing a scheme with the IICD to put arms completely and
verifiably beyond use;
* Implementing this scheme to save the peace process by putting
three separate tranches of weapons beyond use on:
- 23 October 2001
- 11 April 2002
- 21 October 2003; and
* Seeking to directly and publicly address unionist concerns.
In 2004 our leadership was prepared to speedily resolve the
issue of arms, by Christmas if possible, and to invite two
independent witnesses, from the Protestant and Catholic
churches, to testify to this. In the context of a comprehensive
agreement we were also prepared to move into a new mode and to
instruct our Volunteers that there could be no involvement
whatsoever in activities which might endanger that agreement.
These significant and substantive initiatives were our
contributions to the peace process. Others, however, did not
share that agenda. Instead, they demanded the humiliation of the
Our initiatives have been attacked, devalued and dismissed by
pro-unionist and anti-republican elements, including the British
Government. The Irish Government have lent themselves to this.
Commitments have been broken or withdrawn. The progress and
change promised on political, social, economic and cultural
matters, as well as on demilitarisation, prisoners, equality and
policing and justice, has not materialised to the extent
required, or promised.
British forces, including the PSNI, remain actively engaged in
both covert and overt operations, including raids on
We are also acutely aware of the dangerous instability within
militant unionism, much of it fostered by British military
intelligence agencies. The British/loyalist apparatus for
collusion remains intact.
The political institutions have been suspended for years now and
there is an ongoing political impasse.
At this time it appears that the two governments are intent on
changing the basis of the peace process. They claim that 'the
obstacle now to a lasting and durable settlement... is the
continuing paramilitary and criminal activity of the IRA'.
We reject this. It also belies the fact that a possible
agreement last December was squandered by both governments
pandering to rejectionist unionism instead of upholding their
own commitments and honouring their own obligations.
We do not intend to remain quiescent within this unacceptable
and unstable situation. It has tried our patience to the limit.
Consequently, on reassessment of our position and in response to
the governments and others withdrawing their commitments;
* We are taking all our proposals off the table.
* It is our intention to closely monitor ongoing developments and
to protect to the best of our ability the rights of republicans
and our support base.
The IRA has demonstrated our commitment to the peace process
again and again. We want it to succeed. We have played a key
role in achieving the progress achieved so far. We are prepared,
as part of a genuine and collective effort, to do so again, if
and when the conditions are created for this.
But peace cannot be built on ultimatums, false and malicious
accusations or bad faith. Progress will not be sustained by the
reinstatment of Thatcherite criminalisation strategies, which
our ten comrades died defeating on hunger strike in 1981. We
will not betray the courage of the hunger strikers either by
tolerating criminality within our own ranks or false allegations
of criminality against our organisation by petty politicians
motivated by selfish interests, instead of the national need for
a successful conclusion to the peace process.
Finally, we thank all those who have supported us through
decades of struggle. We freely acknowledge our responsibility to
enhance genuine efforts to build peace and justice. We reiterate
our commitment to achieving Irish independence and our other
republican objectives. We are determined that these objectives
will be secured.
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau
In an initial response to Wednesday night's IRA statement, Sinn
Fein President Gerry Adams said:
"The IRA statement is obviously a direct consequence of the
retrograde stance of the two governments. It is evidence of a
deepening crisis and I regret that very much.
"The two governments have opted for confrontation. They are
engaging in the sterile politics of the blame game without any
regard for the consequences. This negative approach has
effectively scuttled the enormous work done in persuading the
IRA to undertake the unprecedented initiatives which they
publicly outlined in December.
"All of this good work has now been undermined."