Bishop Donal McKeown of Derry has praised the announcement of a ceasefire by a dissident republican group.
Óglaigh na hÉireann which has been responsible for a number of attacks, including the attempted murder of Catholic PSNI member Peadar Heffron in 2010, declared the ceasefire yesterday afternoon following negotiations with trade unionists.
Bishop McKeown said: “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.”
Dr McKeown also said the announcement puts the onus on elected representatives to show that politics can deliver for the people, especially for those who are most in need, pointing out that there are many decisions that need to be taken urgently.
“At this time,” he added, “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,” he said.
The group, which included former members of the Provisional IRA, carried out its first attack in 2009. Members have been linked with extreme violence against people living in their own communities, including brutal beatings and shootings, as well as acts of intimidation.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also welcomed the ceasefire announcement in the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions and thanked those involved in the negotiations.