IRA expresses 'deep concern' over peace process


The IRA has expressed deep concern after claiming the British government had failed to deliver on commitments to the peace process.

As London and Dublin prepared for a vital new round of talks in a bid to end the political deadlock, the Provisional leadership said it had taken significant initiatives to advance the situation.

But republicans accused Downing Street and the Irish administration of failing to keep their side of the bargain.

In its New Year statement yesterday the IRA insisted its third act of decommissioning in October, as part of a failed choreography to restore the devolved Stormont Assembly, had been its biggest yet.

"This involved the largest amount of arms to date," the organisation claimed.

"After that the sequence was put on hold. Since then the two governments have not honoured their part of it. "Consequently there has been no progress on a range of issues involved.

"The British government carries the premier responsibility for that. It's failure to deliver is of deep concern."

Talks involving all sides in Belfast are due to begin within weeks amid demands from Sinn Féin leader Mr Gerry Adams that they are limited to a month. But with negotiations expected to drag on much longer, the two governments will have to make some tough decisions later in the spring about the future direction of the peace process.

Although the political outlook appeared bleak, the IRA's involvement in paramilitary assassinations dropped significantly over the past 12 months.

They have been blamed for murdering missing south Armagh dissident republican Gareth O'Connor, but the vast majority of the killings have been carried out by loyalist terrorists.

In the statement the Provisionals claimed their unilateral actions had helped keep the peace process alive.

"During the past year we have again demonstrated our readiness to facilitate progress in a clear and meaningful manner."

It added: "The leadership of the IRA have kept their word and fulfilled their commitments. Others must do the same."