Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Is peace enough?

According to the Independent Monitoring Commission so openly detested by Sinn Féin, the IRA is 'committed to a peaceful path'.
How committed, I wonder? Not 12 months ago it offered to murder Robert McCartney's killers as some sort of service to the greater good. And that was after a gang of militant Republicans gouged Mr McCartney to a gruesome, drawn-out death in a frenzy of unadulterated bloodlust outside a city pub. So just how committed is the IRA to peaceful means? Given that guerrilla warfare has been the staple of Marxist Irish Republicanism for centuries, healthy scepticism is fully justified at this stage.
The IRA has said it's committed to democracy, but I hope its supporters acknowledge that democracy doesn't always give you what you want, let alone give it quickly. Democracy means finding policies together, and the 'together' bit can be a painfully slow process. Worryingly, there are many Republicans who don't relish this long walk, as witness an HGV trailer parked high in a field next to the Dundalk bypass last week proclaiming in bold letters that Gerry Adams is a British puppet.
On another scale, though, peace is not enough because there has to be a complete acceptance of the rule of law, and that applies to all paramilitary groups and their hangers-on. DIY justice like that considered after the McCartney slaughter has no place in a governed democracy. Neither do so-called 'Community Restorative Justice' schemes which have no government mandate. If anyone accepts democracy and the rule of law, they have to engage in the forming of policies under which the law enforcement agencies operate, and then they have to support that agency to the hilt. No ifs or buts about it.
Peace, you see, is not enough. A full commitment to the laws of the land and the appointed law enforcement agencies north and south of the Irish border is the minimum anyone can expect of a movement dedicated to peace and democracy.


At 3:08 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post.


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