The Guardian: IRA statement apologizing for “30 years of murder.” The statement directly addresses the fact that the IRA’s terror campaign caused “deaths and injuries” to “non-combatants” as well as “grief and pain” to “combatants.”
While the statement is questionable from a standpoint of historical accuracy (thirty years ago, you can be damned sure that the IRA wanted to injure or kill whoever it had to, “combatant” or not, to make its point–this is the essence of terrorism), it says volumes about where the IRA is today. That is: engaging in a peace process, coming to terms with the interests of the other parties in that process, and trying to put the legacy of violence aside despite continued terror from groups like the “Real IRA.” Or, more cynically, dealing with the reality of a massive anti-terrorism war fought by the US and the UK following September 11, and accordingly changing with the times.
But that possibility shouldn’t overshadow the significance of this release. It doesn’t come close to absolving the IRA of past actions, but it’s a necessary move to build credibility as they head away from that legacy toward a more sustainable drive for peace.