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Statement by Tony Blair on the Ending of the IRA Armed Campaign, (28 July 2005)

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Text: Tony Blair... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Tony Blair, then British Prime Minister, on the Ending of the IRA Armed Campaign, (28 July 2005)


"This may be the day when finally, after all the false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaced war, politics replaces terror on the island of Ireland.

I welcome the statement of the IRA that ends its campaign, I welcome its clarity, I welcome the recognition that the only route to political change lies in exclusively peaceful and democratic means. This is a step of unparalleled magnitude in the recent history of Northern Ireland. The Unionist community in particular and all of us throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom will want to see this clear statement of principle kept to in practice.

The instruction in the IRA statement that volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever will be taken as a forthright denunciation of any activity, paramilitary or criminal.

The Independent Monitoring Commission is in place to ensure that what is said is what is done. Decommissioning must be completed, as the statement says. as soon as possible. The Commission on Decommissioning will verify that.

But the statement is of a different order than anything before. It is what we have striven for and worked for throughout the eight years since the Good Friday Agreement.

It creates the circumstances in which the Institutions can be revived. Unionism will want to know that these circumstances are permanent and verified. But if in time they are, then proper devolved democratic government should be restored to Northern Ireland.

Of course there will continue to be fundamental disagreement about the past. The IRA believe that their means were justified. The rest of us do not and we remember today the many thousands of victims of their campaign. But the best way to serve the memory of victims is to make the future brighter, and there is at least some hope today that the future will indeed be such as to banish the ghastly and futile violence from Northern Ireland for ever."


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