Evidence IRA is winding down…

UNIONISTS were cautious about Tony Blair’s suggestions at Leeds Castle that the IRA was about to end all paramilitary activity and decommission – though one DUP delegate seemed confident the latter would be dealt with by Christmas. However, it’s action, not words that was demanded, so there will be much interest in the next two IMC reports. There seems little doubt that the next one will report a hugely dramatic reduction in IRA paramilitary activity.

If that trend continues and decommissioning is ‘dealt with’ in a manner that the DUP is content with by Christmas, the following IMC report will likely be brought forward. If there’s an election in May, it might make February or March more likely.

At this point, the DUP will face a stark reality – the IRA will have, to all intents and purposes, gone away. And since the DUP promised not to serve in Government with ‘armed Sinn Fein/IRA’, there will be no reason for First Minister Robinson to not sit in an Executive alongside Deputy McGuinness.

Unless they are still wrangling over North-South arrangements and ministerial accountability, of course. Then we’ll know it was all a sham…

  • peteb

    Given that the previous report showed that whether paramilitary activity was turned up and down was dependent on the political sensitivity of such continued activity, and that the report is still predicted to point to “‘a high state of readiness’ with ‘ample evidence’ of an organisation maintaining its capacity and that it was continuing to store intelligence information”, it hardly supports the idea that this is evidence of “dramatic reduction”.

  • maca

    You’re not optimistic Pete?
    I think things are looking up. The DUP appeared to have a pretty good meeting yesterday in Dublin which is bound to help the “overall climate” in the North. Which i’d hope would have the knock on effect of keeping pressure on the IRA to disarm/disband.

    Mitchell Reiss (ok, just another nosey American) also seems pretty sure that “the IRA is on the verge of an historical transformation”.

  • Davros

    It’s been a broad verge Maca 😉

  • peteb

    It’s not an issue of whether I’m optimistic or not, maca.

    I’m questioning the belief that the reported reduction in assaults and shootings is ‘evidence’ of the intentions of any paramilitary group, when we also have evidence which shows that such reductions are reactions to political sensitivities.

  • Ciaran

    With SF previously denouncing IMC reports as unreliable and the ‘securocrats’ in disguise should we expect a turnaround if their reports are now favourable to Republicans? Or should we ignore them as the ‘securocrats’ at work as previously suggested?

  • peteb

    Or, Ciaran, can we now expect SF to point to such a report as ‘evidence’ of paramilitaries’ intentions?

  • peteb

    Sorry, Ciaran, you already said that.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    If the DUP can u-turn and now hold de Chastelain up as a man of his word, there’s no reason why SF can’t do the same with Alderdice!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “If the DUP can u-turn and now hold de Chastelain up as a man of his word, there’s no reason why SF can’t do the same with Alderdice!”

    Or maybe they’ll continue to see him as the archetypal quango merchant so beloved of Alliance.