As you might imagine the big story of the day is the latest statement from the IRA.
Most punters are predictably split on what (if any significance) it has for the ‘ailing’ peace process. The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern welcomed the statement, whilst David Trimble immediately countered it with the suggestion that “the apology from the IRA tonight may have been prompted by the investigative pieces on which some journalists have been working for the anniversary of bloody Friday in a few days’ time and questions being asked about the complicity of certain individuals in those murders and bombings?” John Reid plays it more ‘steady as she goes’.
Fergus Finlay argues that the nature of the apology is deeply significant within the context of Republican semiotics, whilst others like David Sharrock believes it to be a diversionary tactic to get Gerry Adams off the hook for the bombing. There are also articles from: David McKittrick; Rosie Cowan; and Chris Glennon.
The full statement runs:
“Sunday, 21 July marks the 30th anniversary of an IRA operation in Belfast in 1972 which resulted in nine people being killed and many more injured.
While it was not our intention to injure or kill non- combatants, the reality is that on this and on a number of other occasions, that was the consequence of our actions. It is, therefore, appropriate on the anniversary of this tragic event that we address all of the deaths and injuries of non-combatants caused by us. We offer our sincere apologies and condolences to their families.
There have been fatalities amongst combatants on all sides. We also acknowledge the grief and pain of their relatives. The future will not be found in denying collective failures and mistakes or closing minds and hearts to the plight of those who have been hurt. That includes all of the victims of the conflict, combatants and non-combatants. It will not be achieved by creating a hierarchy of victims in which some are deemed more or less worthy than others.
The process of conflict resolution requires the equal acknowledgement of the grief and loss of others. On this anniversary, we are endeavouring to fulfil this responsibility to those we have hurt. The IRA is committed unequivocally to the search for freedom, justice and peace in Ireland. We remain totally committed to the peace process and to dealing with the challenges and difficulties which this presents. This includes the acceptance of past mistakes and of the hurt and pain we have caused to others.”
The statement is signed “P O’Neill, Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin.”