Irish Republican News · August 3, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Onus is now on both governments

By Danny Morrison

Obviously, I welcome last week’s statement by the IRA. It is the single most important contribution to the peace process and it will do more to bring peace and stability to the north than anything before.


However, the onus is now on the two governments to implement the outstanding tenets of the Good Friday Agreement and it means they no longer have to kow-tow to the demands of the unionist intransigents.

There are still major concerns - nationalists living on the interfaces have concerns, worried that there will be a repeat of 1969.

In this month 36 years ago, nationalists were burned from their homes by the RUC who rampaged through the lower Falls area, followed closely behind by loyalists who set fire to, looted and wrecked nationalist homes.

While morale will be high among nationalists there is always the fear that there will be reprisals, a backlash from concerned loyalists.

In making their historic statement yesterday, the IRA has taken the moral high ground, of that there can be little doubt.

The IRA has placed the ball firmly back in the British and unionist court.

No longer can unionists accuse the IRA of organised criminality, of duplicity or of engaging in politics while orchestrating violence.

Their statement removes any excuse from the unionist camp not to sit with Sinn Féin, not to negotiate the remaining terms of the Good Friday Agreement yet to be implemented but, most of all it removes the obstacles to the peace process.

All that said, this new development represents a challenge to the republican movement and it certainly demands unwielding commitment.

At some stage, republicans are going to have to tackle the thorny issue of policing.

Somewhere down the line they will have to look at the terms of the Agreement and evaluate the role of a police force in the north which is 50 per cent nationalist.

The 1969 pogroms were started by a unionist RUC. There were no republicans in Stormont and nationalists were not represented at any level of public or political life.

Today, that obstacle too, has been removed. No longer can political parties, north or south, deny the electoral mandate of Sinn Féin and if Sinn Féin retain their mandate no party can refuse to sit in government with republicans again.

While morale is high and the mood of the entire country has been lifted by the news of an end to the IRA’s armed struggle, yesterday’s statement is an emotional time for many in Ireland who have witnessed the cost of conflict.

Since the turn of the century, through a war of independence and a civil war, from 1969 until 1994, people, nationalist and unionist, have suffered.

There is no doubt that everyone in Ireland appreciates the magnitude of the IRA’s move and the significance it will make to every life on this island.

Everyone recognises it is a major and significant breakthrough in the struggle for Irish peace.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News