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Statement on the restoration of the 1994 IRA ceasefire.


I welcome the speedy confirmation that the IRA 1994 ceasefire has been unequivocally restored. The news will be greeted with relief and satisfaction by the people of Ireland North and South, who should now be able to go about their daily lives in peace.

We all want peace to be permanent, and must share the determination to make it so. It has taken a long time, nearly 18 months, to arrive back at this point. While acknowledging some of the important groundwork done by me predecessors, and especially by the Department of Foreign Affairs, I have been very actively engaged since the election in working to restore the IRA ceasefire quickly, by providing all necessary clarification, both on matters within our jurisdiction, and in cooperation with the British Government.

I hope that, despite understandable reservations in some quarters that have borne the brunt of IRA attacks, everyone will approach this new opportunity positively and with determination that it should succeed. The mistakes that were made before and wholly negative and destructive attitudes must be avoided.

The next phase of our history must be a purely peaceful one. No positive Republican ideal can be realised except by democratic means. The Irish Government will work closely with the British Government and with all willing parties to achieve through inclusive and substantive talks beginning in September a durable and balance political settlement that does justice to the people of all political traditions in Ireland. We now have the optimum conditions to build peace. I appeal to all concerned to avail fully of the opportunity. We are clearly at the beginning of a long process of work that will be extremely difficult but of vital importance.

19 July 1997