Bishop McKeown welcomes Ã“glaigh na hÃ‰ireann ceasefire and says politicians must start delivering
The Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, says Ã“glaigh na hÃ‰ireann's ceasefire announcement puts an onus on elected representatives to start delivering for the people of the North.
Bishop McKeown said the group's decision to end its armed campaign shows it has finally recognised the democratic wishes of the majority of the people on the island.
"I warmly welcome today’s announcement of a ceasefire from the body which calls itself Óglaigh na hÉireann. It is a recognition that the people of Ireland, North and South, decided 20 years ago this year to seek a way forward through exclusively political means.
"This announcement also puts the onus on our elected representatives to show that politics can deliver for the people, especially for those who are most in need. There are many decisions that need to be taken urgently.
"At this time I also ask people to remember those for whom this decision has come too late. Too many people in our community will continue to bear the scars of violence for the rest of their lives.
"I commend the quiet and courageous work of all who have worked to make this announcement possible."
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also welcomed the move but said it was long overdue.
He challenged other dissident republican groups to follow suit and “bow to the will of the Irish people.”
“I welcome the cessation of violence announced by Óglaigh na hÉireann today. It is long overdue. Their statement today must lead to the permanent position of pursuing politics through solely peaceful means.
"However, whilst welcoming this move I also have to challenge the statement released by ONH which states that it is suspending ‘all armed actions against the British state’.
"The violence of ONH targeted the Irish people. Peadar Heffron was an Irish police officer serving all the people across the North, yet ONH were behind his attempted murder in 2010. While we can welcome the move to cease using violence, we cannot allow for the past to be glossed over.
“Let the failure of the violent campaigns of ONH and other violent actors instead serve as a hard won lesson on this island - bombs and bullets have never achieved progress. Again and again this island has known violence and again and again we have known its futility," said Mr. Eastwood.