'Time to go'
By Catherine Brown
Time for Peace — Time to Go is an international broad-based campaign formed to mark the 25th anniversary of British troops in the north of Ireland. The campaign says that British withdrawal is central to the achievement of peace in Ireland.
The campaign aims to promote debate on Britain's role in Ireland and to involve the public in developing a peace process. Some members of the Irish and British parliaments are supporting the campaign. The Australian committee is also getting endorsement from politicians, trade unionists and various religious representatives.
The campaign insists that the atmosphere now exists for a substantial progress towards peace and reconciliation in the north of Ireland. The key elements to any peace process must be:
- a recognition by the British government of the right of the Irish people to national self-determination;
- a complete demilitarisation by all sides;
- a recognition of the fears of the unionist community about any new political arrangements, and equal respect given to the civil, religious and cultural rights of all;
- the duty of both Irish and British governments to actively seek the widest possible consent for new political arrangements. To offer any party a veto on political progress would discourage discussion and result in further entrenched positions.
"There have been many solutions presented and trumpeted as the ultimate panacea for peace. They have failed because they have not tackled the root problem — the British armed presence which sustains the inherently sectarian and failed entity that is Northern Ireland." states Time To Go.
A series of activities in Ireland will culminate in a spectacular parade and pageant on August 20 in Dublin reflecting, theatrically, the past 25 years. An International Day of Action will take place on August 13 with major events planned in cities throughout the world to coincide with the annual anti-internment rally in Belfast.
In Sydney a week of activities has been planned including pickets of the British High Commission and the Queen Victoria Building. On August 13, the International Day of Action, a rally will be held at 3pm at First Fleet Park at Circular Quay, Sydney. In Melbourne, the British Consulate will be picketed. For details contact the Australian Irish Congress PO Box 168, Broadway NSW 2007 or phone 558 4072.