'The leadership of the IRA extends seasonal and fraternal greetings to all its friends, activists and supporters both at home and further afield. Easter for republicans marks a time for reflection and re- dedication. As we gather in groups large and small, we call to mind those who have died over the past year. We extend sympathy and solidarity to all their families, particularly those of IRA volunteers Jimmy Kelly and Thomas Begley.
'Our struggle is a long, a proud and a resilient struggle. At this juncture, as we celebrate and commemorate the 78th anniversary of the Easter rising of 1916, we renew our republican faith and re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of Irish freedom.
'Our objectives, which include the recognition and exercise of the Irish people's right to national self-determination, are well known. Our commitment and unity of purpose remain steadfast. Our commitment to peace is also a matter of public record. This is evidenced in the welcome we gave in October 1993 to the Irish peace initiative, its underlying principles and dynamic, which emerged publicly from the Hume-Adams talks. It remains our view that this could provide the basis for peace.
'Recently we reiterated the abiding and enduring nature of our commitment to the development of a genuine peace process. We stated our view that all involved should leave no stone unturned. We recognise that this commitment is shared by others, but from our perspective there is little evidence that this includes the British government.
'Last year, in an effort to enhance the success of proposed meetings between Sinn Fein and the British government, we agreed to a British . . . proposal to suspend operations for two weeks.
'In the event the British government rejected this, and in so doing closed down the potential opportunity for progress which this represented. Our statement of 13 March reiterated our continued willingness to be positive and flexible in exploring the potential for moving the situation forward.
'As further evidence of this, we will unilaterally suspend offensive military actions for 72 hours from midnight, Tuesday, 5 April, until midnight, Friday, 8 April. There are no conditions attached to this unilateral initiative, but we hope that the British government will accept this further opportunity in the spirit in which it is offered, and utilise it to the best advantage of the British and Irish people.
'Making peace is a difficult business for all involved, but the difficulties must be overcome. That too is the responsibility of all involved, but particularly the British government. We hope that the further opportunity here provided is used to that purpose and effect.
'We republicans, as we . . . commemorate Easter, will draw strength and inspiration from our fallen dead and will face the tasks, challenges and opportunities of the coming year with commitment and in unity of purpose.'Reuse content