Thursday, January 19, 2006

The fine line

In the rather public "has the IRA gone straight?" debate between NI security minister Shaun Woodward and the police service I see Woodward has hit back, saying "there are complex assessments to be made in distinguishing between criminality by individual PIRA members for their own gain and criminality carried out by PIRA members which is authorised by the organisation."
Basically, he says he's convinced the PIRA leadership is trying to take the organisation straight but that certain members are still involved in organised crime.
In the bad old days IRA discipline was rigorous, and people obeyed down the command structure because there'd be a bullet and a back lane in Armagh waiting for you if you broke rank. But now the bullets are gone (and even if there are any left the rank and file know the organisation can't use them without blowing away all its political credibility), yet the IRA clearly has to find a way of bringing its members into line and keeping them there.
The IRA truly is an albatross around Sinn Féin's political neck, and a certain faction within its membership seem uncontrollable. The IRA has no purpose any more, and the Big thing for Gerry Adams and "P. O'Neill" to do is to disband it. I think this is politically feasible within the Republican movement in the next 2 years.
I believe it could be the key enabler to major political and cultural progress in Ulster. With the right moves from the UK and Irish governments, Sinn Féin could then find a way to support local policing in Ulster. That would in turn make it entirely undefensible for the DUP to continue to refuse to share power with SF, providing the setting for a devolved power-sharing government in Ulster which, as readers know, is a goal I hold dear.
But it starts with IRA disbanding. Do the Big thing, P.


At 9:16 p.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

But it starts with IRA disbanding

Not going to happen!

Republicans have had just about enough with these Unionist demands.

First it's decommissiong, which was a red herring. Then it was say the Armed campaign was over, again another red herring and now this

Not a mission!

We have went as far as we are going to go

Let's see some movement from Unionists for a change.

At 10:03 p.m., Blogger B.U. said...

Good to hear from you, Chris.

If Republicanism has really turned its back in violence it doesn't need an army. Keeping it in place as a 'eunuch' can be nothing other than a bargaining counter - threatening something you've promised you've given up for good. Or has it only been given up temporarily as a trial? BU.

At 2:15 a.m., Blogger Chris Gaskin said...

The IRA has been stood down John but the IRA will not be disbanding.

The Army Council hasn't got the authority to do such a thing.

It is time Unionism stepped up to the mark!


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