Irish Republican Army (IRA) Easter Statement, 27 March 1997
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Full text of Irish Republican Army (IRA) Easter Statement,
The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann extends fraternal greetings to republican activists, supporters and friends at home and abroad and thanks them for their continued assistance.
As we gather in commemoration of the 81st anniversary of the Easter Rising we remember all those who have died in the cause of Irish Freedom. We remember in particular Volunteer Diarmuid O'Neill who was shot dead by British Forces in London on 23 September last.
We send solidarity greetings to our imprisoned comrades in Ireland, England and America. We assure them, their families and loved ones of our ongoing support. We commend the POWs in the H Blocks for their recent attempt to effect their escape from captivity.
We salute the Volunteers of Oglaigh na hEireann and applaud their discipline, determination and continuing steadfast commitment to the cause for which those we commemorate today have given their lives.
We pay tribute to all those who continue to work to achieve lasting peace. We assure them that we share their goal of a durable and just peace settlement. We understand well their frustration with a British government which refuses to acknowledge its central responsibility for the continuation of the war in Ireland.
While British military occupation persists the Irish people are denied their right to national self-determination and sovereignty. Faced with this reality we remain committed to bringing the British government's undemocratic rule of the occupied part of our country to an end, once and for all. We are determined to rid our country of a British government which has no mandate to rule here and which refuses to recognise the democratically established mandate of others.
On 7 October last the IRA resumed military operations against British Forces in the occupied Six Counties. In the period since then we have demonstrated again and again that we retain the capacity and resources to continue to strike against those maintaining British occupation. Everyone should be assured that we are united, we are strong and we remain steadfast in our determination to achieve our objectives.
Responsibility for the ongoing conflict rests firmly on the shoulders of the British Government. The unprecedented opportunity for the establishment of a meaningful peace process presented by our initiative in August 1994 stands as both testimony to our belief that a resolution to the conflict here demands a process built upon inclusive negotiations and proof of our willingness to facilitate such. Equally, the British government's rejection of that opportunity and their attempts to use it in a vain attempt to divide and defeat republicans testify to the continuing predominance of a colonial military mindset among the most influential British Government politicians and officials in Whitehall.
John Major has unapologetically described himself as a defender of the Union. He has presided over a government that has demonstrated repeatedly an active pursuance of a unionist and loyalist agenda. Last July, at Drumcree, bowing to a combined threat from the Orange Order and their associates in the Loyalist death squads Major and Mayhew served notice on nationalists throughout the occupied Six Counties of their continuing intention to bolster the unionist veto over progress towards a resolution to the conflict.
Beating nationalist residents off Garvaghy Road, firing thousands of plastic bullets at nationalist demonstrators in Derry and subsequent events at Dunloy and Harryville is proof that the Six County state remains nakedly sectarian, is maintained by military force and coercion and can deliver no more than a perpetuation of injustice and denial of civil rights.
In the last year we have witnessed ample evidence on the streets that nationalist determination is stronger than ever. The nationalist desire for justice has grown rather than diminished since Civil Rights campaigners first took to the streets here thirty years ago. The full realisation of this desire demands a British withdrawal and an end to an inherently sectarian Six County state.
In commemorating those who have died in the cause of freedom our most fitting tribute is a renewal of our commitment to the cause for which they selflessly gave their lives. Our objectives remain the reunification of our country and the establishment of a 32 county democratic socialist republic. We will not be deflected from these.
We have repeated often in the past and do so again today that we stand ready to face our responsibilities in facilitating a process aimed at securing a lasting resolution to the conflict between the British government and the Irish people. No such process can develop or be constructed without a similar commitment by the British government. Their refusal to make such a commitment and their futile pursuit of an IRA defeat serves no other end than the postponement of both lasting peace and the date of British withdrawal. We remain determined to bring that date forward.
P O'Neill, Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin.
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