British Government needs to re-engage with Peace Process – Adams
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of an historic statement by the IRA leadership, formally ordering an end to its armed campaign, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said the British government needs to re-engage with the Peace Process.
In a statement this evening marking the anniversary of the IRA initiative of 28th July 2005, Gerry Adams said:
“More than 20 years ago, in one of the defining developments of modern Irish history, the IRA announced a total cessation of military activities.
“The subsequent success of the Peace Process and the transformation of politics across this island and between Ireland and Britain were the result of the efforts, commitment, political courage, determination and personal engagement by the key players.
“I note the recent remarks of British Prime Minister David Cameron when he claimed that 'British resolve saw off the IRA’.
“This is a distortion of recent history. It also betrays a worrying ignorance on the part of a British Premier of the dynamics which have propelled the Irish Peace Process for many years.
“The reality is that the IRA was never defeated and that again and again it was Irish republicans, including the IRA leadership, which took bold steps to bolster the peace process and to maintain positive political momentum.
“Ten years ago this week, on 28 July, 2005, the IRA formally ended its armed campaign and gave its support to purely peaceful and democratic means of achieving republican objectives.
“David Cameron would do well to understand that it was such initiatives which broke the long cycle of conflict and opened up new political possibilities.
“However, the progress that was made over many years is now in severe jeopardy, not least because of the attitude of Mr Cameron.
“The political structures negotiated so painstakingly as part of the Good Friday Agreement face collapse as a result of the British Government's ideologically driven austerity agenda.
“By slashing hundreds of millions of pounds from the finances of the North's Executive, the British Government has attacked the ability of the political institutions to deliver for citizens.
“The promise of further ‘eye watering’ cuts in the autumn will further undermine the Executive's ability to provide public services and protect the most vulnerable.
“Sinn Féin wants to see the political institutions work; for that to happen the Executive must have sustainable and workable finances.
“The Executive requires the resources and flexibility to deliver a peace dividend that will be felt in those communities which suffered most as a result of that conflict.
“This includes the resources to tackle the sectarian segregation which perpetuates division and facilitates confrontation.
“Over many decades, successive British governments invested limitless financial resources to pursue a military agenda in the North of Ireland. They now need to bring a similar commitment to building the peace.
“A new approach is required from the British Government - one based on investment, which would allow the political institutions to grow and develop the economy for the benefit of all our citizens.
“There is also an onus on David Cameron's government to resource the mechanisms for dealing with the legacy of the past, which were agreed at Stormont House.
“The Irish Government cannot escape its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement either. It remains detached and it's attitude to the North is dictated by party political and selfish electoral considerations.
“The Taoiseach needs urgently to take up his responsibilities towards citizens in the North and to be a champion of the peace process.
“In order to restore hope, to rescue the political institutions and re-establish positive political momentum, the British Government must provide the Executive with the tools to invest in public services, grow the economy and address the legacy of the past. The British government needs to re-engage with the Peace Process.”