Republican News · Thursday 11 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

``Courageous IRA initiative'' - Ó Caoláin

Sinn Féin Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has welcomed the progress in the peace process and commended the IRA for what he described as ``a very difficult and courageous initiative''. Ó Caoláin urged all political opinion to work pro-actively to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is now implemented in full.

Ó Caoláin said: ``The way forward which emerged out of negotiations on 5 May is a new opportunity for lasting peace. The two governments have set out a timetable for implementation of the Agreement. The IRA has come forward with an imaginative initiative to facilitate the peace process. This is one of the most significant contributions by any single group towards the resolution of the conflict during the entire course of the peace process. It ranks with the IRA's original cessation of August 1994.

``I wish to commend the IRA on this very difficult and courageous initiative. Many republicans will have doubts and concerns but I would urge them to read carefully the terms of the IRA statement and to see it in the context of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement, if implemented in full and built upon, has the potential to transform the political situation.

``Throughout this process some sections of opinion, not confined indeed to the Six Counties, were all too willing, for their own selfish ends, to cast doubt on the seriousness and sincerity of republicans about addressing each outstanding issue, including the issue of arms. Those cynics have been proved wrong yet again.

``It is vital now that progress is not only continued but accelerated in the weeks and months ahead. We need to see early and comprehensive developments in the area of demilitarisation. The Patten proposals on policing must be implemented in full. The range of measures on human rights and the equality agenda set out in the statement from the two governments need to be advanced on schedule.

``I look forward to the restoration of the institutions and to working with my Sinn Féin colleagues in the Assembly and Executive, and with other political opinion, in making politics work on this island in the best interests of all who share it.''

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