Dáil calls on SF/IRA to denounce violence

09/02/2005 - 23:07:42

The Dáil was united tonight (Wed. night) in a resounding call on Sinn Féin and the IRA to denounce violence and embrace democracy.

A hard-hitting Fine Gael motion agreed by the Government and opposition parties was passed after its second night of heated debate.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell accused the IRA of shattering a peace deal in December by not agreeing to end all paramilitarism and criminality.

But Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said that so many TDs were “so blinded by their anti-republican prejudice” that they could not “acknowledge or understand the enormity of what the IRA was on the point of delivering in December”.

Mr Ó Caoláin described Mr McDowell was “one of the begrudgers” of early peace efforts and said his heart was still back in the days of internment witout trial and the demonising nationalists.

After the last speaker had contributed to the motion, Ceann Comhairle Rory O’Hanlon declared the motion carried without a vote.

Earlier, Sinn Féin said Fine Gael’s “ham-fisted approach” to the motion had reflected the “bungling of their previous leadership in the peace process”.

The Sinn Féin amendment to the Fine Gael motion specified that it rejected criminality in all its forms.

But the wording made no reference to the early release of the killers of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe – the key issue which united Government and opposition on the motion.

Earlier, Mr McDowell described the IRA as a secret cult keeping the holy flame of republicanism burning.

“Exit that time warp and that parallel universe and come into the democratic world,” he urged.

He added that the state derived its authority from the strong voice of the people, “not from some ghostly whisper from history“.

Fine Gael’s justice spokesman Jim O’Keeffe accused Sinn Féin of living in a “make-believe world, a kind of cloud cuckoo land that they believe it’s the only world that everybody should live in”.

He added: “This House sends a P45 to Mr P O’Neill and his gang; to the nameless, faceless cowards on the IRA’s Army Council who are only accountable to themselves.”

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