Stand down the IRA once and for all

Is today’s front page editorial on today’s Irish News. It opens the case succinctly:

“Essentially, unionists are concentrating on what they see as the potential threat from the IRA while nationalists have to deal, on practically a daily basis, with the reality of loyalist violence. Although there are clearly radically different perspectives involved, logic firmly suggests that the level of trust between the two traditions necessary to sustain our new political structures is unlikely to be achieved while paramilitary organisations are still part of the equation.”

Then it registers the frustration that many ordinary Catholics feel about a lack of perspective that consistently emerges from some Unionist quarters:

“Many will find it ironic that yet another brutal murder (and here and here) carried out by loyalists over the weekend, on this occasion as part of a long-running internal feud, was largely ignored by the same senior unionist politicians who devote most of their careers to speculating what republicans might or might not be capable of attempting at some point in the future.”

And cites another recent example:

“Indeed, as this newspaper has already pointed out, the lengthy resolution agreed unanimously at the last Ulster Unionist Council meeting, which was staged at a time when UDA members were enthusiastically butchering each other across Belfast, made five separate specific references to the IRA but could not manage to give even a single mention to the loyalist rampage.”

But then it gets tough on the IRA:

“Only those still blinkered by a discredited ideology could claim that the IRA might some day return to what was euphemistically known as the armed struggle but in practice meant the slaughter of fellow Irish men and women. As long as the IRA retains its influence within republicanism, there is an obvious danger that it will engage in enterprises which cause incalculable damage to the search for stability and reconciliation.”

Then it comes to its main point:

“What needs to be finally recognised by republicans is that maintaining a private army and holding seats in government are incompatible in every respect. If constitutional methods are to be pursued, as they must be, then paramilitary considerations have to be abandoned. This means standing down the IRA once and for all.”

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