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Statement by Tony Blair on the publication of the Twelfth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), (4 October 2006)

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Text: Tony Blair... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, on the publication of the Twelfth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), (4 October 2006)


"Good Afternoon. What the Independent Monitoring Commission has reported today is its objective assessment of the situation in Northern Ireland. That objective assessment is that the IRA is no longer involved in training, in procurement and engineering of illegal weapons, and what is more, that it has disbanded those elements of its organisation responsible for such activities. The report also says that the IRA is no longer recruiting, targeting or carrying out so-called community punishments. And crucially it says that the IRA leadership is taking a firm stance against any involvement in crime.

In short, Sinn Fein and the IRA are following the political path and their commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means. Given the past, including the not too distant past, I understand why many will be sceptical about that statement, but it is a statement based on the Independent Monitoring Commission's objective assessment.

The IRA's campaign is over.

There is now a consensus across all the main players in the politics of Northern Ireland that change can only come through persuasion and not through violence of any sort.

The IRA has done what we asked it to do, and while issues like policing remain to be resolved, the door is now open to a final settlement, which is why the talks next week in Scotland are going to be so important.

This will be a unique opportunity.

I hope all the parties understand that and seize that opportunity to create a future for the people of Northern Ireland, a future based on shared, democratic and peaceful values where politics is conducted within an environment of tolerance and respect for people of different views.

Next week of course, as with all the stages of this process over the years, will require courage and leadership on all sides and I hope it is forthcoming."


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