With little left in the game for pro-agreement Unionists except electoral humiliation next May, they will likely collapse all institutions, bin the Good Friday Agreement and throw the peace process back a stage.
“Assembly elections are due to be held in May next year, but unionists have warned the body could have been dissolved and direct rule re-imposed long before them unless Mr Blair acts.” PA
The rejection of the IRA apology has not gone down well with some. There is evidence that Sinn Fein is taking it’s implementation seriously but even strongly pro-agreement Unionists say that whilst they have been fighting a steady war of attrition with the No-camp they have only had the bare minimum from the IRA.
The media verdict on the IRA’s apology seems to be, ‘fine but what does it mean in practice?’. Brian Walker presages John Reid’s expected statement next Wednesday, by suggesting they need to start on the street and build on some of the trouble-calming methods they used over the twelfth celebrations.
This interview with Ed Maloney about his forthcoming book on the history of the Provisionals is worth a read.
“The Provos are different from any other republican organization,” said Moloney, “including the old IRA. They’re in the Defender tradition — full of people who joined just to defend their own streets, especially in Belfast.” He added emphatically that “if they came from the Wolf Tone tradition, they’d have had problems ditching the ideological high ground. But they didn’t. They got stuck on guns — decommissioning — since guns were their raison d’autre, as defenders of Catholics.”