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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 present.

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 Ireland.

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 settlement.

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."

Beirigí Bua,
P O'Neill
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau,

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