Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Sunday, 11 October 2009 18:46 UK

Reaction to INLA renouncing violence

INLA procession in Londonderry in 2000

Politicians and commentators in Northern Ireland give their reaction to the news that the INLA is renouncing violence.

It is expected that the Irish National Liberation Army will say in future it will pursue exclusively peaceful means at a commemoration near Dublin.

SHAUN WOODWARD, SECRETARY OF STATE
shaun woodward

"We should welcome today's statement in which the INLA have stated their intention to now adopt only exclusively peaceful political means.

"However, as we have made very clear to every paramilitary organisation, while we may welcome the renunciation of violence it is essential that words are matched to deeds.

"I would urge the INLA to decommission their weapons before the decommissioning deadline in February."

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN PRESIDENT
Gerry Adams

"Given the history of the INLA there will undoubtedly be some scepticism about today's statement.

"However, if it is followed by the actions that are necessary, this is a welcome development.

"I would appeal to all groups to follow the will of the Irish people. This means pursuing political objectives by purely peaceful and democratic methods."

ALASDAIR MCDONNELL, SDLP DEPUTY LEADER
ALASDAIR MCDONNELL

"Slowly but surely we are putting the horrors of the past 40 years behind us.

"I detect as I go about my business on the streets of Belfast the steady movement of people of all persuasions towards peace and towards total opposition to violence of any sort.

"The vast majority of people want a life and a livelihood for their families and they expect their political leaders to do all they can to ensure that that life and livelihood is available to them."

SIR REG EMPEY, ULSTER UNIONIST LEADER
Sir Reg Empey

"I welcome reports that the INLA is to renounce violence and deal with their weapons via General de Chastelain.

"This is long over due, but given the current rise in Real IRA activity it is important that a group that has been involved in terrorism for so many years now realises the futility of continuing down that road.

"I hope as a result, that those contemplating a career in terrorism will pay attention to those who wasted their lives in a futile INLA campaign and recognise that they are being led into a cul-de-sac by believing that the Real IRA can succeed where all other republican groups have failed."

GREGORY CAMPBELL, DUP MP
Gregory Campbell

"It has taken a very long time for the INLA to come to terms with the fact that murder cannot be a means to advance a political agenda. Just as the Provisional IRA had to learn this, so hopefully will they.

"Two lessons need to be learnt from this development, the first is the hope that it will not take these latter day converts to democracy as long as it took the political apologists of the Provisionals to understand that once embarking on the democratic road it has to be obvious to all that they are actually on it and by no words or actions should they offer credence to cynics who believe that the route is just a temporary diversion.

"The second lesson is that no inducement, bartering or offering of concessions must be any part of this move."

DAVID FORD, ALLIANCE PARTY LEADER
David Ford

"The INLA must decommission and disappear immediately.

"People are sick of hearing grand statements from terrorist organisations, only to see them subsequently take a long time to decommission.

"This must signal the end for the INLA, not the start of some kind of protracted process designed to gain publicity.

"My thoughts are with the victims and survivors who suffered at the hands of this group."

EAMONN MALLIE, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST
EAMONN MALLIE

"There's a realisation that every organisation has its day.

"Effectively the whole landscape has changed so dramatically on the island of Ireland in terms of where we are, in terms of the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement, the St Andrews Agreement etcetera, so I suspect this organisation feels that it has run its course."

REVEREND HAROLD GOOD, CLERGYMAN WHO WITNESSED IRA DECOMMISSIONING
Reverend Harold Good

"I think it's very significant - we've been waiting for a long time for these splinter groups of the republican movement to come on board and to follow the example of mainstream republicanism, so it's very good news indeed.

"Much too late for some people, some would say - there are many people today for whom this will be a reminder of their pain and their sadness and their suffering and their hurt and their pain.

"However, it is extremely good news because it's saying that people are now accepting the fact that violence has no part to play in Irish politics and that we must move on well beyond that."



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