Statement by Mr Brian Cowen T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs
Today's statement by the IRA is a significant contribution to the process of consolidating peace and reconciliation.
While this offer of sincere apology and condolences will not undo the hurt and grievance that has been caused to the victims or their families, it nevertheless represents a significant step forward in the process of healing that must take place.
The Government is also encouraged by the restatement of the IRA's commitment to the peace process and to dealing with the challenges and difficulties which that represents. It looks forward to the IRA, and other paramilitary organisations, building on that commitment.
The 30th anniversary of Bloody Friday is a stark reminder of the tragic past from which we are now emerging. The Good Friday Agreement is the essential vehicle for ensuring that this is consigned to history. The challenge now is to redouble our efforts so that all parts of the community have confidence that Northern Ireland is now advancing to an irreversible peace and the pursuit of exclusively democratic politics.