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Statement by Albert Reynolds in response to the CLMC Ceasefire, 13 October 1994

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Research: Ciaran Mullan
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Statement by the then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, in response to the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) Ceasefire, 13 October 1994

"I warmly welcome the decision of the Loyalist paramilitary organizations to universally cease all operational hostilities from midnight (Oct. 13). They have set out their own stated reasons for their decision but it has been taken in the light of the continuing IRA ceasefire. Since I have always regarded the IRA ceasefire as permanent, I regard the Loyalist ceasefire as permanent also. This decision greatly signifies the end of 25 years of violence, and the closure of a tragic chapter in our history. Indeed, it is my hope and my conviction that there will never be political violence on our island again.

We are now at the dawn of a new era. Everyone should now work together in a spirit of goodwill, reconciliation and forbearance to consolidate a just and lasting peace, so as to ensure that all of the people of Ireland are rid of the gun and the bomb in Irish politics forever. I welcome the clear recognition in the Loyalist statement that there must be respect for difference, and that all future battles must be political battles within the democratic framework. This is what the Downing Street Declaration of last December set out to establish, a level playing field from which all attempts to influence political development by violence or the threat of violence would be removed. For the first time in over 100 years, this will make a new type of politics -- a politics of consent and agreement, involving both sides equally possible in relation to the North. I also welcome the element of contrition in the Loyalist statement, expressing abject and true remorse for all the innocent victims of the past 25 years. The recognition of wrongs committed must be on all sides, political as well as paramilitary, an element in the process of healing and reconciliation. The memory of all the victims of violence will be cherished. I would like to pay tribute to all those individuals who have worked for peace and for restraint in the times of crisis, and who have helped to bring the Loyalist ceasefire about. A special tribute is due to the Rev. Roy Magee and indeed Archbishop Bames, who have exercised their influence to bring this about. Both the Tanaiste (Dick Spring) and myself have continued to maintain our contacts into this community, in order to help and support those trying to bring a Loyalist ceasefire about. The concerns of the Loyalist community will continue to receive the attention of the Irish Government at the highest level, as they have done in the course of the Downing Street Declaration and its clarification. A significant part of the political philosophy of the Loyalist organizations has, as I have said on more than one occasion, been incorporated into Paragraph 5 of the Downing Street Declaration, in addition to other paragraphs which address Unionist concerns as well as Nationalist ones. We must now all work for the consolidation of peace and for a demilitarization of the entire situation. The question of law enforcement and policing, prisoners and the safe and permanent disposal of weapons will arise in this context and affect both communities."

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