Congressman Doyle Applauds Progress in Irish Peace Process Meets with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14)today expressed his strong support for the Irish Republican Army’s announcement that it would stand down and abandon its armed campaign for a united, independent Ireland in favor of peaceful political action to achieve that goal.
“This is a great day for Ireland, a great day for democracy, and a great day for peace,” Congressman Doyle said in response to the IRA’s announcement. “This represents another important step forward in the peace process that began seven years ago with the Good Friday Agreement.”
Congressman Doyle made his statement after meeting with Martin McGuinness, chief peace negotiator for Sinn Fein, and other members of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs and the Friends of Ireland, two Congressional organizations that have worked for peace in Northern Ireland for many years.
Earlier today, the Irish Republican Army released a statement which said, in part,
“The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann (the IRA) has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4 p.m. this afternoon. All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever.”
In the meeting with Mr. Doyle and other Members of Congress interested in the peace process, Mr. McGuinness reaffirmed the historic and irrevocable nature of the announcement and called on the British government and the Unionists in Northern Ireland to take comparable steps to move the peace process forward. He thanked the United States Government and the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs and the Friends of Ireland for their efforts over the past seven years to keep the peace process going despite numerous setbacks.
“The people of Northern Ireland have suffered for decades,” Congressman Doyle observed. “Our hearts go out to all of the families that have experienced pain and loss over the course of this terrible struggle. I have been a strong and consistent supporter of the Good Friday Agreement and the peace plan it laid out seven years ago. The IRA’s announcement today is another important step forward on the difficult path to peace. I urge the other parties in these negotiations to show similar courage and commitment.”
Photo caption: “Congressman Doyle and Sinn Fein official Martin McGuinness take questions from reporters after a press conference earlier today in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.