Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Victims Demand Answers

Negotiations with the Garda have reached a critical phase as a definitive date is hammered out for the Victims Parade in Dublin. After our last visit the Irish Police confirmed that they could and would police the event. We outlined our concerns about fundamental flaws in the previous policing strategy and were assured that they would be addressed this time. Assurances were given that there would be a sufficient police presence to face down any rioters and that numbers and all eventualities would be planned for. While victims wish to see a peaceful parade where the people of Dublin and visitors could come and enjoy the event and welcome us to their city the safety of those we take is paramount. Therefore while we would wish for a normal uninhibited parade with any peaceful protests facilitated we all agreed that safety was primary and a policing operation commensurate with the threat was vital.

We will be pressing for the Garda to better utilise intelligence and arrest those who are planning trouble and acting subversively. Given the fact that some of the Garda family has now contacted us looking to partake in the parade with us who had their father murdered by the IRA, we have told them they would be more than welcome. The people of the Republic have clearly electorally rejected militant Republicanism, now their state must seize the opportunity and act on that democratic mandate to destroy the cancer of Republican terrorism. It is fitting that victims of republican violence have given the Irish Government the opportunity to finally remove this cancer from the body of the Republic. Our presence in Dublin will force the terrorist elements of Republicanism to break cover and to take to the streets. We have exposed them for what they are and now the Irish State must seize the opportunity to smash them once and for all. They have subverted the democratic institutions of the state for decades and continue to refuse to recognise it. That is an intolerable state of affairs and one that successive Irish Governments have ignored. Their failure to address violent subversive Republicanism is a damning legacy of 1916 and has allowed terrorism cover to operate against the innocent people of Northern Ireland.

Victims hold the key and it is a wonderful irony that we the victims of militant republicanism have the ability to destroy it, and to destroy it where it was conceived on the steps of the GPO in Dublin. If we are to believe that violence is over and we are safe to move forward terrorism must be eradicated not legitimised. Therefore we will be pressing the Gardai to ensure that those who embarrassed them before do not repeat that. The dates we have mentioned are the last Saturdays in September this year, and the only reason for further negotiations is the potential for a Royal Visit. It is no longer a question of IF but WHEN. Given the problems faced by the Garda before we must be confident that they have all necessary preparations in place before the event.

We had hoped that politicians North and South would have tried to speak to the victims as they concluded the present political deal. However once more we see victims issues sidelined and victims insulted. Just as we had to take to the streets after the 1998 Agreement victims will once more have to stand up for themselves. If politicians, especially those in Dublin who continue to interfere in our affairs, refuse to meet us and engage meaningfully with those who have suffered we will continue to increase our volume and vociferousness. Our demands are simple and legitimate and we will be highlighting them at the end of the summer. If they are not met we will have no alternative but to take to the streets.

The visit by the Queen to Dublin raises a number of issues and problems for the Irish Government in light of our plans. Whether we organise it before or after the Royal visit the potential to upstage or indeed jeopardise it is a real issue. We would hope that our parade would complement not conflict with the Visit and that they could be taken as a twin success story. However equally problems surrounding one event could impact on the other. Perhaps the best way forward is for the queen to head this parade, thereby allowing the people of Dublin to show their respect for not only the Queen but also her citizens who died at the hands of our enemies.


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