Written Answers. - Paramilitary Organisations' Ceasefires.

Trevor Sargent


185 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there is an indication of further ceasefires being announced by other paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. [22231/01]

A number of paramilitary groups, including the Provisional IRA and the UVF, have indicated that they are currently on ceasefire. Both the British and Irish Governments are satisfied that these ceasefires are being maintained.

There are a number of other paramilitary groups – the Real IRA, the UDA, the UFF and the LVF – which have stated that they are on ceasefire and they have not publicly rescinded that claim. However, it is evident that these ceasefires are not being maintained.

Following the Omagh bombing, the Real IRA announced a "complete cessation of all military activity" with effect from 7 September 1998. Since then, that organisation has not announced any change to this status and it maintains a strategy of not claiming responsibility for attacks carried out by its members. However, a series of attacks in Northern Ireland and Britain, coupled with evidence gained from arrests, convictions and seizures in this jurisdiction, are indicative of a return to violence by this organisation.

In relation to loyalist groups, on 12 October, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dr. John Reid, announced that he had specified the UDA, the UFF and the LVF and declared that their ceasefires were over. This decision was made in the light of the involvement of those organisations in a large number of violent incidents over a sustained period of time in many parts of Northern Ireland.

Those groups which persist in pursuing their aims through violent means – on both the loyalist and republican sides – have nothing to offer except death and destruction. The demand of the people on this island, North and South, is that they stop now and for good. I call on all those with influence within the paramilitary organisations not on ceasefire to work for an immediate and complete end to all violent activity.