Alliance Councillor David Alderdice has said he hopes yesterday’s “positive and encouraging” IRA apology is part of a bigger process which ends with the disbandment of the paramilitary group.
Cllr Alderdice said that since the election of Alex Maskey as Lord Mayor, the Republican Movement appeared to be distancing itself from the political violence it was once associated with.
Cllr Alderdice stated: “Republicans do seem to be operating in a more positive way since Alex Maskey became Lord Mayor of Belfast. There has been a noticeable change in the political climate, even in the past six weeks, with three unexpected and very welcome events; republicans commemorating the dead of World War I, senior IRA members holding rioters back during Orange parades and now this unprecedented apology from the IRA.”
“It does seem to me that republicans are making the effort to warm up the ‘cold house’ unionists once complained of. They are taking small steps, but they are going in the right direction, and perhaps others will soon recognise this pattern.”
“In Belfast, when Alliance voted for Alex Maskey as Lord Mayor, we expected moves from republicans. Now they have begun their confidence-building process, I would hope that their sincerity and faith in politics would be even more fully demonstrated by starting the process of IRA disbandment.”