Adams' speech to the IRA

Here is Gerry Adams’ statement to the IRA for all and sundry to make up their own minds. From the Sinn Fein website:

I want to speak directly to the men and women of Oglaigh na hEireann, the volunteer soldiers of the Irish Republican Army.

In time of great peril you stepped into the Bearna Baoil, the gap of danger. When others stood idly by, you and your families gave your all, in defence of a risen people and in pursuit of Irish freedom and unity.

Against mighty odds you held the line and faced down a huge military foe, the British crown forces and their surrogates in the unionist death squads.

Eleven years ago the Army leadership ordered a complete cessation of military operations. This courageous decision was in response to proposals put forward by the Sinn Fein leadership to construct a peace process, build democratic politics and achieve a lasting peace.

Since then despite many provocations and setbacks the cessation has endured.

And more than that, when elements within the British and Irish establishments and rejectionist unionism delayed progress, it was the IRA leadership which authorised a number of significant initiatives to enhance the peace process.

On a number of occasions commitments have been reneged on. These include commitments from the two governments.

The Irish Republican Army has kept every commitment made by its leadership.

The most recent of these was last December when the IRA was prepared to support a comprehensive agreement. At that time the Army leadership said the implementation of this agreement would allow everyone, including the IRA, to take its political objectives forward by peaceful and democratic means.

That agreement perished on the rock of unionist intransigence. The shortsightedness of the two governments compounded the difficulties.

Since then there has been a vicious campaign of vilification against republicans, driven in the main by the Irish government. There are a number of reasons for this.

The growing political influence of Sinn Fein is a primary factor.

The unionists also for their part, want to minimise the potential for change, not only on the equality agenda but on the issues of sovereignty and ending the union.

The IRA is being used as the excuse by them all not to engage properly in the process of building peace with justice in Ireland.

For over thirty years the IRA showed that the British government could not rule Ireland on its own terms. You asserted the legitimacy of the right of the people of this island to freedom and independence. Many of your comrades made the ultimate sacrifice.

Your determination, selflessness and courage have brought the freedom struggle towards its fulfillment.

That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I say this with the authority of my office as President of Sinn Fein.

In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle. I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.

Now there is an alternative.

I have clearly set out my view of what that alternative is. The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally.

I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann to fully embrace and accept this alternative.

Can you take courageous initiatives which will achieve your aims by purely political and democratic activity?

I know full well that such truly historic decisions can only be taken in the aftermath of intense internal consultation. I ask that you initiate this as quickly as possible.

I understand fully that the IRAs most recent positive contribution to the peace process was in the context of a comprehensive agreement. But I also hold the very strong view that republicans need to lead by example.

There is no greater demonstration of this than the IRA cessation in the summer of 1994.

Sinn Fein has demonstrated the ability to play a leadership role as part of a popular movement towards peace, equality and justice.

We are totally commited to ending partition and to creating the conditions for unity and independence. Sinn Fein has the potential and capacity to become the vehicle for the attainment of republican objectives.

The Ireland we live in today is also very different place from 15 years ago. There is now an all-Ireland agenda with huge potential.

Nationalists and republicans have a confidence that will never again allow anyone to be treated as second class citizens. Equality is our watchword.

The catalyst for much of this change is the growing support for republicanism.

Of course, those who oppose change are not going to simply roll over. It will always be a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to maintain the status quo. But if republicans are to prevail, if the peace process is to be successfully concluded and Irish sovereignty and re-unification secured, then we have to set the agenda – no one else is going to do that.

So, I also want to make a personal appeal to all of you – the women and men volunteers who have remained undefeated in the face of tremendous odds.

Now is the time for you to step into the Bearna Baoil again; not as volunteers risking life and limb but as activists in a national movement towards independence and unity.

Such decisions will be far reaching and difficult. But you never lacked courage in the past. Your courage is now needed for the future.

It won‚t be easy. There are many problems to be resolved by the people of Ireland in the time ahead. Your ability as republican volunteers, to rise to this challenge will mean that the two governments and others cannot easily hide from their obligations and their responsibility to resolve these problems.

Our struggle has reached a defining moment.

I am asking you to join me in seizing this moment, to intensify our efforts, to rebuild the peace process and decisively move our struggle forward.

  • Neutral American

    “Welcome NA. There is a good reason there is less attention paid to Loyalist paramilitaries. By putting the same spotlight on them, as on the IRA, the British Government, Unionists parties and their paramilitaries, LVF, UDA. etc would be revealed to be one and the same when it came to murdering Pat Finucane, Sinn Fein Party Candidates,and numerous Nationalist public figures in Ireland.”

    Kitty,

    I understand what you are saying as an explanation of the actions from the loyalist side of the equation, but I’ve always been a bit confused by the statements of the SDLP and the Irish governments. Do they pay more attention to the IRA out of fear of its rise to the detriment of the SDLP and of greater electoral attraction in the south?

    If that is the reason, it is as tacky as some view GA’s comments yesterday. What I mean by that is if people consider he statements yesterday to be simply politics, what does one make of the SDLP and certain people within the Irish government seemingly giving violent unionists a pass in comparision to some of their statements about the IRA?

    Private armies, criminality and the threat/use of murder to advance a political agenda are thoroughly anti-democratic entirely unacceptable in today’s world. But, from where I sit, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the UDA (and its affiliates) and the IRA.

    I like to think that my government (outside of the other flaws of the current administration) recognizes that and can play the part of an honest broker. But, I get the feeling that when I listen to W. talk about the peace process in NI, he is referring only to the IRA.

    Sure, they need to disband. The sooner the better. But, they are not the only ones who need to go away. Mutual disarmament from both sides is what is needed. I rather hope that the IRA chooses to act first by finding an open, empty field to blow all of its weapons up, as that would hopefully cause all parties invovled to cast a negative glance toward the violent unionist groups.

  • kitty

    Kitty,

    I understand what you are saying as an explanation of the actions from the loyalist side of the equation, but I’ve always been a bit confused by the statements of the SDLP and the Irish governments. Do they pay more attention to the IRA out of fear of its rise to the detriment of the SDLP and of greater electoral attraction in the south?

    Well I think you mean the rise of Sinn fein but yes that is the general idea. If the Irish Government and the SDLP
    WELL I THINK YOU MEAN THE RISE OF SINN FEIN BUT YES THAT WOULD BE THE GENERAL IDEA. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IN THE IRISH GOVERNMENT AND TO THE SDLP IF THEY WERE BOTH TO REVEAL THAT YES THERE WAS STATE COLLUSION, SINN FEIN WAS NOT EXAGGERATING THE PROBLEM FOR ALL THOSE YEARS? I THINK WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT.

    If that is the reason, it is as tacky as some view GA’s comments yesterday. What I mean by that is if people consider he statements yesterday to be simply politics, what does one make of the SDLP and certain people within the Irish government seemingly giving violent unionists a pass in comparision to some of their statements about the IRA?

    I THINK THERE IS QUITE A DIFFERENCE AND IF GERRY ADAM’S WAS SIMPLY ELECTIONEERING WHICH I CONCEDE HE WAS( AND IT WAS BRILLIANT) WHAT WAS MARK DURKANS MATCH WITH GERRY CONLON ALL ABOUT? I THINK WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT AS WELL. LET’S KEEP IN MIND THAT DURING CONLONS TIME IN JAIL THE SDLP DISTANCED THEMSELVES FROM THE WHOLE ISSUE OF THE WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED MEN IN BRITAIN.

    Private armies, criminality and the threat/use of murder to advance a political agenda are thoroughly anti-democratic entirely unacceptable in today’s world. But, from where I sit, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the UDA (and its affiliates) and the IRA.

    PRIVATE ARMIES HAVE FREED MANYS A NATION INCLUDNG THE US. WAS IT UNDEMOCRATIC FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON? AS FOR THE IRA AND UDA, THERE’S A MILES OF DIFFERENCE FROM WHERE I SIT IN THE MIST OF THEM. HOWEVER, AGAIN I WILL CONCEDE THAT THE TIME FOR VIOLENCE HAS PASSED ESPECIALLY IN IRELAND AND THE DEMOCRATIC PATH IS THE CORRECT ONE, HOWEVER EVEN WHEN WE REPUBLICANS WALK THAT PATH WE ARE MET WITH OBSTACLES. PLUS- THE DEMOCRATIC PATH WOULD ENTITLE US TO THE TRUTH ABOUT ISSUES SUCH A STATE COLLUSION ETC. SO MAYBE ALL NEED TO TAKE THAT PATH?

    I like to think that my government (outside of the other flaws of the current administration) recognizes that and can play the part of an honest broker. But, I get the feeling that when I listen to W. talk about the peace process in NI, he is referring only to the IRA.

    WITH ALL DUE RESPECT YOUR PPRESENT GOVERNMENT ARE LIARS!AND TERRORISTS TO BOOT.BUT YES GEORGE SEEMS TO BE MISINFOMRED ABOUT IRELAND BUT THEN HE IS ABOUT EVEYRHTING ELSE AS WELL SO WHAT DOES IT MATTER. I WOULD HATE TO THINK THAT THE RIGHT-WING FUNDAMENTALISTS OF THE US, WHO SHARE MANY COMMONLAIITES WITH PAISLEY AND CO. HERE, WOULD BE BROKERING ANYTHING AT THIS PRESENT TIME.

    Sure, they need to disband. The sooner the better. But, they are not the only ones who need to go away. Mutual disarmament from both sides is what is needed. I rather hope that the IRA chooses to act first by finding an open, empty field to blow all of its weapons up, as that would hopefully cause all parties invovled to cast a negative glance toward the violent unionist groups.

    AGREED. NICE CONTRIBUTION.

  • spirit-level

    mick hall
    I’m jealous of your’e eloquence and history.
    I’m full of admiration, thanks for filling in the gaps.
    I don’t know the ins and outs. You do.
    Thank you, I’m not a scholar. I’m a prophet.
    I see the future and shed the tears.
    My heart beats like “Southern Man”
    Crosby, Stills, Nash.
    Appreciate your reply. Thanks
    we’ll speak again!

    Kitty lets get wasted together
    when I come to Belfast.
    don’t worry bout Davros calling you a troll
    you ain’t.. and he ain’t either
    he jus gotta lot of hurt in his heart.
    Ain’t we all.

  • spirit-level

    Hope I’m past the water shed for bigots:
    Get a load of this:

    Artist/Band: Young Neil
    Lyrics for Song: Southern Man
    Lyrics for Album: After The Gold Rush
    Southern man
    better keep your head
    Don’t forget
    what your good book said
    Southern change
    gonna come at last
    Now your crosses
    are burning fast
    Southern man

    I saw cotton
    and I saw black
    Tall white mansions
    and little shacks.
    Southern man
    when will you
    pay them back?
    I heard screamin’
    and bullwhips cracking
    How long? How long?

    Southern man
    better keep your head
    Don’t forget
    what your good book said
    Southern change
    gonna come at last
    Now your crosses
    are burning fast
    Southern man

    Lily Belle,
    your hair is golden brown
    I’ve seen your black man
    comin’ round
    Swear by God
    I’m gonna cut him down!
    I heard screamin’
    and bullwhips cracking
    How long? How long?

  • Davros

    Great album spirit level. Have you heard “Alabama” on his album “Harvest” ?

    They led to “Sweet Home Alabama” by Leonard Skynard.

  • spirit-level

    Hey Davros great connection dude
    I love it , sweet alabama, you can’t fail to be moved by that stuff….burning the oil 🙂

  • Davros

    The 70’s – tremendous highs and lows. Tartan for Bay City Roller fans ( a musical Low) and Tartan Gangs here.

  • spirit-level

    First single I bought Bay city Rollers LOL
    Dav my heart is heavy, I gotta go to Belfast just have to , after the election, and I’m scared man , my accent is English.
    I just don’t think I’m going to be taken seriously, and it worries me. 🙁

  • Davros

    Plenty of people born here have “English” accents … Last time I was in Belfast there seemed to be more “outside” accents than local ones LOL

  • Gonzo

    spirit-level

    Don’t believe the hype. You’re probably in more danger of getting a hiding in Glasgow for your accent than in Belfast.

  • spirit-level

    Oh alright then …..phew..
    I do a wicked Trimble impersonation.
    I’m definately going to try out some stand-up when I get there at the comedy clubs, but I do come from morality, and I know it’ll upset quite a few on both sides.
    Never mind eh, gotta shake the tree.

  • spirit-level

    “And when a child is born into this world
    It has no concept of
    The tone of skin it’s living in”
    Youssou Ndour.

    Thanks Gonzo,Davros

  • Davros

    Common sense applies spirit-level – I wouldn’t wander about Birmingham or Glasgow on my own in the wee small hours. In fact a few years ago I was at a conference in Brum, had a few ( ahem ) drinks and got lost. I was bricking it.

  • spirit-level

    hehe Dav
    I just want them to warm to me that’s all
    the rest is beauty and sweetness.

  • Davros

    I know it’s a St Patrick’s Day Guide for visitors to the ROI, but here’s some things NOT to do LOL

    P45 E-jits Guides: Advice for tourists

  • spirit-level

    Hilarious, ahh brilliant, my fav:

    “But the best Paddy’s Day crack (enjoyment) is always to be found in the pubs of Ballybough/Ballyfermot/Ballymun (in fact, in any place which begins with “Bally-“). All you have to do is walk in and use the traditional Irish greeting “Yacun cha!” or (for that really friendly local greeting): “Wotterya lukkinat yafek incun cha!” and you will be welcomed as a long-lost son of Erin.”

    And on that happy note, g’night
    the cat wants a cuddle.