The following statement was received from the leadership of the Irish National Liberation Army on the 5th Anniversary of the INLA ceasefire.
In August 1998 the leadership of the INLA with the full support of the volunteers of the People's Army called a ceasefire in response to the will of the Irish people as expressed through the Referenda on the Good Friday Agreement.
Now five years on it is time to take stock.
Nothing that occurred since then has persuaded us to change our minds on the Good Friday Agreement. Four suspensions of the Assembly, a massive increase in sectarianism, the introduction of a neo-liberal economic agenda, the failure of mainstream unionism to actively accept an equality agenda and continuing direct rule by the British Government confirms the correctness of our analysis. The Good Friday Agreement is a failed and flawed agreement. The Northern Ireland State is a failed political entity.
With the increasing disillusionment with in loyalist ranks over the whole so-called peace process and with whole sections of the UDA rejecting the GFA while the UVF re-arms now is not the time for any Republicans to be even considering negotiating any arms surrender. A squalid political deal that exchanges guns for Government was not what the republican struggle of the past was about. Such a deal is in effect an attempt to hide and cover up what has been in effect a defeat for Republicanism. Running Stormont departments does not and will not hide that reality.
However the INLA does not see a return to armed struggle as a viable alternative at this time. Accordingly we have encouraged our membership and supporters to become actively involved in the day-to-day struggles of ordinary people. Such political involvement is following the example of our founder Seamus Costello. A revolutionary army without a clear base of political understanding and activity is no longer a revolutionary Army. The INLA is part of and acts in the interests of the Irish working class.
Five years on from our ceasefire there is still a role for the INLA. We will remain vigilant in defence of working class communities but we will not take offensive action.
We will assist in resolving disputes within working class communities but we will not police those communities. The INLA is not a police force and we call on all units of the INLA to desist from policing communities. It is no part of our role to police the working class. However we do reserve the right to defend our membership and the most vulnerable members of our community. It is time to encourage working class communities to take responsibility for their own lives. We will encourage initiatives that give some respect and dignity back to communities living in fear from drug dealers and young disaffected youth. Therefore we encourage all volunteers to actively participate in a positive manner in daily lives of working class communities. The INLA has no interests outside the liberation of the working and the establishment of a socialist society.
There are however those who have abused and exploited working class communities. We warn those who used and abused the name of the INLA within working class communities to intimidate and extort to desist forthwith. We are aware of individuals who use our name as a flag of convenience. Your day is done.
To the gutter press who regularly print falsehoods gossip title tattle and lies about this movement stop. Check your facts with this movement before you go to press.
Five years on the INLA ceasefire is solid. We recognise that the Republican struggle has to take a new direction and we call on all other republican forces to enter into dialogue with us and other republicans to discuss the way forward in the new situation we all find ourselves in.
Now is not the time for the failed strategies and tactics of the past. Now is the time for a new departure.
Statement on behalf of the leadership of the INLA