Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Dissidents urged to call an end to armed campaign

A marcher takes part in the annual Easter parade on the Falls Road, Belfast
A marcher takes part in the annual Easter parade on the Falls Road, Belfast

Dissident republicans must end their campaign of violence, Sinn Fein's vice president Mary Lou McDonald has insisted.

She told crowds gathered for the annual 1916 Easter Rising commemoration at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast that militant splinter groups should stop immediately.

"Armed conflict is in the past; it has no place in the present; no-one has the right to inflict it on our children's future," she said.

"The splinter groups who pursue armed actions today are acting out a travesty that too often has turned to tragedy.

"They should desist and desist immediately," she added.

Police have blamed dissidents for Sunday's bomb attack in Lurgan.

Officers escaped injury after a small explosive device was placed inside a dog litter bin and detonated without warning while they investigated reports made of an illegal parade.

Last week, dissident grouping Oglaigh na h'Eireann said it left a bomb inside a van close to the venue for the G8 summit in Fermanagh.

Meanwhile, during a separate commemorative event in Dublin, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness warned that the peace established 15 years ago by the Good Friday Agreement could not be taken for granted.

"While much progress has been made, more needs to be done. Recent events on our streets have shown that.

"There are people who dream of wrecking the structures of change. They want to destroy rather than build. Their tools are bigotry, mistrust, militarism and sectarianism. Those who prefer conflict and confrontation must be opposed by political leaders united in a vision of a peaceful, inclusive and shared future," he said.

More than 350 Irish Army, Navy and Air Corps personnel took part in a solemn State ceremony to mark the 97th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin city centre.

Irish President Michael D Higgins – who laid a wreath in memory of those who died – was joined by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, at the GPO (General Post Office) on O'Connell Street.

"Mindful of their sacrifice, we dedicate ourselves to working for a just society where the political and religious freedom of all its members is vigilantly maintained," Msgr Eoin Thynne said.

"Guide our nation in the way of justice and truth, and establish among us that peace which is the fruit of righteousness."

Earlier, the British Ambassador Dominick Chilcott broke new ground in Irish-British relations by laying a wreath at Glasnevin Cemetery in honour of the 1916 rebels.

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