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Easter Statement by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), 31 March 1999

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Statement issued by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 31 March 1999

"The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann [IRA] extends fraternal greetings to republican activists, supporters and friends at home and abroad and thanks them for their continued assistance.

On this the 83rd anniversary of the Easter Rising we commemorate all those who have given their lives for Irish freedom. Without their efforts and sacrifice the current opportunity for a just resolution to the conflict would not exist.

We send solidarity greetings to our comrades in Ireland and the USA. We applaud the continuing steadfast commitment of the volunteers of Óglaigh na hÉireann to the cause of Irish freedom.

We reaffirm our commitment to our objectives, a united and independent Ireland, a national democracy, the achievement of which offers, we believe, the best guarantee of the establishment of a just and lasting peace. The IRA wants to see a permanent peace in this country.

We wholeheartedly support the efforts to secure a lasting resolution to the conflict. In our view the conflict is caused by British involvement in Irish affairs and by the injustices perpetuated by unionist misrule since partition 75 years ago.

Over the past five years we have called and maintained two prolonged cessations of military operations to enhance the democratic process and underline our definitive commitment to its success.

We have contributed in a real and meaningful way to the creation of a climate which would facilitate the search for a durable peace settlement. IRA guns are silent.

Previously we described the Good Friday agreement as a significant development and have waited patiently for evidence of its potential to deliver tangible progress. For the past 12 months progress towards its implementation has been blocked.

The ongoing year-long siege of the nationalist community of Portadown, escalated loyalist attacks at critical points over the past year and continuing evidence of collusion are indicators of opposition to a democratic peace settlement. This opposition must be overcome.

The potential of the peace process to deliver real and lasting peace lies in its ability to bring meaningful change, to remove the injustices which created the conflict and to end the conflict itself. If the political will exists, the peace process contains the potential to resolve the conflict and deliver a durable peace.

Injustices which are direct consequences of the conflict must also be addressed. Towards this end we announced earlier this week the outcome of our investigation into the location of the burial sites of a number of people executed by Óglaigh na hÉireann more than 20 years ago. This was a sincere attempt to do all within our power to rectify an injustice for which we accept full responsibility.

The challenge for everyone but particularly the British government remains the removal of the causes of conflict in our country."

P. O'Neill

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