'The 20th anniversary of the Provisional IRA ceasefire has been met in recent weeks with huge media coverage and attention rooted with sensationalism and with political leaders, civic leaders and journalists commenting alike, protracting the clichéd pretence of “look how far we’ve come from those dark days” into a new dispensation.
In reality in 2014 peace walls continue to dominate the skyline across Belfast, unemployment remains rife in working-class areas across the 6 counties, MI5 controlled political policing and a failed partitionist assembly at Stormont. The ceasefires mapped the way to the signing of the GFA, an inherently partitionist and sectarian agreement and the true causes of conflict have remained unaddressed since. The Sinn Fein and Provisional IRA ceasefire of 1994 as a victory on the road to the Republic, in reality in the past 20 years we have seen Sinn Fein dilute Republican principles and ideology in order to divulge in reformism, take seats in Stormont and administer British rule in the 6 counties on behalf of Westminster. They have lambasted and suppressed anyone who has stood in opposition to the usurpation of Irish sovereignty by Britain.
Certainly from a Republican perspective nothing has changed, activists continue to be harassed, arrested, interned by remand in Maghaberry and put through the human rights subverting conveyer-belt which is the British diplock court system, and when imprisoned their human rights subverted and the same old British policy of criminalisation continued. We only have to look at the previous cases of Martin Corey, Gerry McGeough and the present case of Gavin Coyle to consolidate this.
Therefore, as we pass the anniversary date of the Provisional IRA ceasefire of 1994, the causes of conflict remain and at its core is Britain’s continued occupation of the 6 counties'.
Connor Hughes, (PRO) Cogús Republican Prisoners, Maghaberry