The statement was made public by the political wing of the INLA, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, at an event held today in Bray, a town to the south of Dublin. “The republican socialist movement has been informed by the INLA that following a process of serious debate, consultation and analysis, it has concluded that the armed struggle is over”, said spokesman Martin McMonagle.
According to the BBC, while the statement did not mention weapons decommissioning, it is understood that the negotiations are underway and that the British Government hopes that the process will be completed by February. The British Northern Ireland Secretary, Shaun Woodward, who welcomed the INLA’s statement, urged the group to destroy its weapons within this time limit. “It is essential that words are matched to deeds”, he added.
The group had been on ceasefire for eleven years after murdering 113 people from 1975, when it broke away from the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and 2001. Their victims included 42 civilians, 46 UK security force personnel, 16 republican paramilitaries and 7 loyalist paramilitaries. Their terrorist activity included the car bomb attack that killed Airey Neave, head of the private office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979, Margaret Thatcher.
The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin, said that the INLA’s announcement was a sign of an increase in political stability. Martin said in statements to the press before the arrival in Dublin of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the fact that a group that has been involved in the troubles in Northern Ireland has renounced violence is a “welcome development”.
Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, also welcomed the news, although with some scepticism. “If it is followed by the actions that are necessary, this is a welcome development”, said the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, in a press release.
Sources: BBC / EUROPA Press
*(Translation provided by [Simon Bruni](http://www.simonbruni.com))*