Irisch Republikanische Solidarität


Flash: IRA warning on peace crisis

The Provisional IRA has warned the Dublin and London governments
not to underestimate the seriousness of the crisis in the peace

Last night, in a 800-word statement, the IRA was bitterly
critical of the approach taken by the two governments to its
historic concessions on arms and other issues.

"The IRA has demonstrated our commitment to the peace process
again and again," it stated. "We wanted to succeed. We have
played a key role in achieving the progress achieved so far."

While not suggesting a possible return to armed struggle, the
statement accused the two governments of reneging on their
commitments and pushing the IRA to the limit.

An unprecedented IRA offer -- to fully disarm, end its
activities and enter a new peaceful mode -- was publicly
outlined in December, but was rejected by Ian Paisley's DUP
withy the support of the two governments.

The IRA confirmed last night that it was withdrawing its

The 26-County Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, speaking
in Dundalk earlier, appeared relatively unfazed by the deepening
crisis in the peace process. "I don't read the IRA statement in
a negative fashion," he said.

"They are saying what is a fact, that negotiations have broken
down. . . . Everything is off the table and that's the normal
course of negotiation."

In a brief response shortly before 6 p.m., an IRA source told
journalists: "The two governments are trying to play down the
importance of our statement because they are making a mess of
the peace process.

"Do not underestimate the seriousness of the situation."

Meanwhile, the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC)
today sent a report to the two governments which is understood
to call for Sinn Fein to be excluded from any executive cabinet
in the North for six months. The IMC was set up by the
governments to impose sanctions on Sinn Fein in response to
allegations of IRA activity.

The power-sharing administration in Belfast remains suspended
following allegations over two years ago of an IRA "spy ring" at
the Belfast Assembly buildings. The allegations later proved

The IMC is now understood to have backed fresh accusations by
the head of the British police in the North, PSNI chief Hugh
Orde, that the IRA was behind a bank raid in Belfast in

Mr Ahern today claimed his government were "not into excluding
or blaming anyone". However, the two governments have previously
endorsed the reports to the body and implemented its sanctions.

No evidence has yet emerged to link the 26.5 million pound raid
to any group.

Speaking on Irish radio this morning, Sinn Fein chief
negotiator Martin McGuinness said the robbery was being used
against republicans.

"The people who robbed the Northern Bank didn't give a damn
about the peace process; didn't give tuppence for the work Gerry
Adams and I and others were involved in over the course of many
years; they were obviously people out for self-gain," he said.

"It was a criminal robbery. I don't know who was responsible for
it but I do know the consequences have seen the Taoiseach and
others line up against us."

He again declared that, to his knowledge, no member of the IRA
was involved.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking at the
Assembly buildings, said the approach of the two governments had
effectively scuttled the IRA's offer.

"The governments have opted to attack the commitment, integrity
and motivation of Sinn Fein," he said.

"This is fair enough in the cut and thrust of party politics but
has no place in a peace process. My remarks about the Irish
government are made more in sadness than anger.

"If an Irish government will not stand up to a British
government in defence of the rights of Irish citizens - then who

He also said the role of the British government and its agencies
in Ireland had been "shameful".

"When Mr. Blair came into government he signalled a willingness
to find a way out of this. He needs to deliver on his historic
and current obligations."

Mr Adams again told the two governments that confrontation had
to be avoided to sustain the peace process.

"When Mr. Blair came into government he signalled a willingness
to find a way out of this. He needs to deliver on his historic
and current obligations.

"We have acknowledged Tony Blair's positive contribution, as we
do the Taoiseach's, but we have told them both that
confrontation is not the way forward.

"Otherwise the peace process could be as transient as his time
in Downing Street.

"The challenge now for all of us in positions of political
leadership is to rescue the situation. That is the focus of the
Sinn Fein leadership. But we cannot do this on our own.

"The two governments have a critically important contribution to
make. Either they can rise to the hard and difficult challenge
of peace making or they can go on making a bad situation worse."

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