IN a sign of the changing times, the Easter message published in the Republican newspaper An Phoblacht was delivered not by the Provisional IRA but by Sinn Féin.
It is the first time in decades that the message has not been delivered by the armed wing and is intended as a sign that mainstream Republicanism is no longer interested in pursuing British withdrawal through the force.
However, for a number of years the IRA message has advocated purely peaceful means. While Sinn Féin used the publication to commend those who “gave their lives for Irish freedom” and to re-declare its determination to secure a united Ireland, it also attacked dissident Republicans in the light of recent killings of security forces.
“We are right to resist those who have attacked the peace process,” it said.
“A small number of militarist factions oppose Sinn Féin’s peace strategy. Many are involved in criminal actions. Moreover, they have no political programmes or strategies. There is no feasible alternative to Sinn Féin’s strategy for a united Ireland.”
It also attacked those who would seek to cash in on the depth of feeling caused by recent killings.
“(We are right to resist) those in the British establishment who would seek to use recent events in the British establishment as an excuse to rush back to the days of militarisation and the abuses that flow from that,” the message said.
“As we celebrate the lives of our comrades and commemorate the sacrifices of our patriot dead, let us recommit ourselves to the achievement of our Republican objectives.”
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