Secret life of the IRA: review by Trimble

I can’t imagine James Molyneaux sitting down to read a book about the IRA, never mind write a review of one. This may not be the most enlightening piece on the IRA, but David Trimble opens an interesting speculative avenue on Unionism’s changing attitudes, both before and after this current process.

Though many will argue that Trimble has had more time on his hands recently than most, it indicates that Unionists in general are seeking a more serious engagement with the nationalist narrative than previously. Though in many ways it is to challenge it, rather than support it.

He fundamentally disagrees with Moloney’s theory that the Belfast Agreement was a dish pre-cooked between the British and Sinn Fein (or more precisely Gerry Adams):

“Various plans over the years merely shuffled the same pack until the circumstances and the details came right four years ago.”

He goes on to mention a joint-Unionist plan submitted to the Secretary of State in 1987 that he claims prefigured most of the terms of the Belfast Agreement. Although two very senior figures in each party at the time, Peter Robinson and Frank Millar, were joint authors of this (or a remarkably similar paper), the two leaders Ian Paisley and Jim Molyneaux lost their nerve at the last minute and it was never published.

Trimble comments diplomatically, “…those Unionist leaders are reluctant now to admit the clear line of developments.”