Monday 23 October 2017

Dissidents must end campaign of violence, says Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald

Lesley-Anne McKeown

DISSIDENT republicans must end their campaign of violence, Sinn Fein's vice president Mary Lou McDonald said today.

She told crowds gathered for the annual 1916 Easter Rising commemoration at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast that militant splinter groups should stop immediately.

"Armed conflict is in the past; it has no place in the present; no-one has the right to inflict it on our children's future. The splinter groups who pursue armed actions today are acting out a travesty that too often has turned to tragedy. They should desist and desist immediately," she said.

Police have blamed dissidents for yesterday's bomb attack in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

Officers escaped injury after a small explosive device was placed inside a dog litter bin and detonated without warning while they investigated reports of an illegal parade.

Last week dissident grouping, Oglaigh na h'Eireann, said it left a bomb inside a van close to the venue for the G8 summit in Fermanagh.

Meanwhile, during a separate commemorative event in Dublin, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness warned that the peace established 15 years ago by the Good Friday Agreement 15 years ago could not be taken for granted.

"While much progress has been made, more needs to be done. Recent events on our streets have shown that.

"There are people who dream of wrecking the structures of change. They want to destroy rather than build. Their tools are bigotry, mistrust, militarism and sectarianism.

"Those who prefer conflict and confrontation must be opposed by political leaders united in a vision a peaceful, inclusive and shared future," he said.

More than 350 Irish Army, Navy and Air Corps personnel took part in a solemn State ceremony to mark the 97th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin city centre.

Irish President Michael D Higgins, who laid a wreath in memory of those who died, was joined by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter at the GPO (General Post Office) on O'Connell Street.

The Irish proclamation was read by Captain Eoin Rochford on the steps of the GPO.

A minute's silence was observed and the event ended with a flypast by four Air Corps PC9 aircraft.

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News