Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on Remarks by John Bruton
"It is a matter of regret and surprise that the Leader of the Opposition failed to inform himself of the facts before speaking out on such a serious matter.
"The Government has and will continue to take the strongest possible action against dissident republicans and it will be fully supportive of any further measures which will be effective in countering their activities
"The Government's position on the question of the designation of the Real IRA in the United States could not be clearer.
"My colleague, John O'Donoghue T.D., the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, who has cabinet responsibility for security matters, met the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Mandelson M.P., on 19 October last to examine a wide range of security issues. Both Ministers agreed to refer this particular issue to the Garda Commissioner and Chief Constable for expert advice.
This Government will act on that professional advice once it is received. If their advice is that designation by the U.S. authorities would be helpful, the Government will not hesitate to ask the U.S. Government to take appropriate action.
"It ill behoves Mr. Bruton to suggest that this Government's approach to violence is in any way ambivalent. Having secured the restoration of the IRA cease-fire and successfully concluded the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement, we continue to use all available means to bring peace and security to all of the people, North and South".