Mary Lou McDonald TD comments on 25th anniversary of historic IRA ceasefire
Speaking on the 25th anniversary of the 1994 IRA ceasefire, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that the actions of the IRA on this day twenty-five years ago demonstrated that 'political differences are not intractable’.
She said that there 'is now a peaceful and democratic pathway to Irish unity and that now is the time to plan and prepare for national reunification, and to engage in dialogue and discussion to define and agree our future in a new and united Ireland’.
The Sinn Féin President said:
"Twenty-five years ago today, the IRA declared a momentous and historic ceasefire that opened up space for a demilitarisation of the conflict in Ireland and paved the way for dialogue that led to the Good Friday Agreement.
"It was a seminal moment in the process that established power-sharing institutions in the north and all-Ireland political structures in our country, as well as leading to a new constitutional arrangement for the north and a democratic pathway to Irish unity.
"Now is the time to plan and prepare for national reunification, and to engage in dialogue and discussion to define and agree our future in a new and united Ireland.
"The ceasefire and the peace process that followed asserted the primacy of politics and the rights of citizens. The actions of the IRA demonstrated that political differences are not intractable and conflict need not be inevitable.
"Twenty-five years on from the IRA cessation a new generation has grown up; the first generation to live free from conflict since partition, but peace is not merely the absence of conflict.
"There remains more to do to realise the opportunities that developed from the IRA ceasefire, to realise the potential of the Good Friday Agreement and to build the process of reconciliation.
"The Good Friday Agreement generation face a number of challenges.
"There are some in the leadership of political Unionism who continue to oppose equality and power-sharing and their actions eventually toppled the power-sharing arrangements.
"We now face the prospect of Brexit and the potential of a return to the physical borders of the past. Rights that are enjoyed in the south, and in Britain, remain denied to citizens in the north. There remain communities across the island that have not had their fair share.
"I remain convinced that all of these issues can be, and will be, resolved and our recent history demonstrates that with real political leadership no political issue is impossible to resolve.”