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Irish Republican Army (IRA) New Year Message, 6 January 1999
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Research: Fionnuala McKenna
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Irish Republican Army (IRA) statement received
by An Phoblacht /Republican News, 6 January 1999.
"The leadership of Og laigh na h Eireann extends New Year greetings
to our friends and our supporters at home and abroad.
We send solidarity greetings to our comrades imprisoned in Ireland,
England and the USA.
We welcome home the many republican prisoners released in recent
months. We applaud and continue to draw inspiration from the selfless
commitment and sacrifice of all republican prisoners, past and
We commend all those organisations who have worked tirelessly
on behalf of republican prisoners and their families over many
years of struggle. We take reassurance from their -commitment
to continue their efforts.
We pay particular tribute to all those Volunteers who have died
over the past decades of struggle. Without their efforts and sacrifice
the current opportunity for a just resolution to the conflict
would not exist. We send our warmest wishes to their families.
We approach the New Year optimistic and confident of the ultimate
achievement of our republican objectives, a united and independent
We reaffirm our commitment to the establishment of a just and
durable peace in Ireland.
The IRA cessation of military operations which we announced in
August 1994 was called to enhance the democratic process and facilitate
the achievement of a durable peace settlement. The
British Government and the Unionists, in both blocking and refusing
to embrace forward political movement, undermined the potential
for achieving such a settlement and eventually forced the ending
of that cessation. The second prolonged cessation which began
in July 1997 created a renewed opportunity for the achievement
of lasting peace. 18 months later and nine months after the Good
Friday Agreement that opportunity has yet to be securely grasped
and, regrettably, the Unionist political leadership appear intent
on its erosion. The question republicans and many nationalists
are now asking is will the British government again succumb to
the Unionist veto.
We approach the New Year conscious therefore of the growing frustration
at the failure thus far of the Belfast Agreement to deliver meaningful
change. Those same Unionist politicians who signed up to the Good
Friday Document in April last have expended all their energy since
in a gradual intensification of their attempts to obstruct its
implementation and negate its potential. Their attempts to resurrect
old preconditions which collapsed a previous opportunity to secure
a lasting peace settlement are designed to block progress rather
than expedite it. The motivation of those engaged in these attempts
is nowhere better demonstrated than in their active approval of
the Orange Order siege of the nationalist community on Garvaghy
Road, Portadown which has been ongoing since last July. The unionist
leadership, it would appear, remain wedded to the politics of
domination and inequality and are opposed to a democratic peace
Despite the continuing political vacuum the challenge for responsible
political leadership remains the removal of the causes of conflict.
Both governments have a responsibility to confront the attempted
exercise of Unionist veto and move I situation on. Attempts Unionist
politicians to block progress must be faced down. The fulfilment
of the existing potential for the resolution of the conflict in
an all-Ireland context requires immediate forward movement."
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,