MARK Devenport thinks Anthony McIntyre (see below) has a point when he argues that the republican movement is intent on creating crisis after crisis, with little to encourage the IRA to keep quiet except Sinn Fein’s potential electoral gains. Is the project expansionism or unity? Or maybe we should just have elections every year, to prevent more IRA activity?! The article also notes that Adams has demanded an apology from the media, if the IRA is shown not to have taken the Northern cash. Mark will be interviewing Eddie McGrady tomorrow on Radio Ulster’s ‘Inside Politics’ at 12.45pm (website time wrong).
Devenport thinks we’re in for the long haul, although this ‘long peace’ is rapidly wearing many people’s patience out. He writes:
Even if the IRA had accepted paragraph 13 of the British and Irish Joint Declaration – a requirement for so long seen as an “act of completion” – then engaging in a bank raid would not necessarily have been precluded.
Nothing in the paragraph which talks about an end to targeting, intelligence gathering, punishment beatings and so on specifically rules out taking £26.5m from a bank vault.
Just as the National Australia Bank – the Northern Bank’s owners – will have been dismayed to discover that the government’s terrorism compensation rules do not cover them for the loss of their cash, so British and Irish officials may feel disenchanted that the IRA – if the chief constable is to be believed – has slipped through their declaration’s fine print.
The former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre may well have a point when he argued in the Irish Times this week that continual crises serve Sinn Fein’s agenda.
Mr McIntyre says these episodes maintain the special transitional nature of the republican movement and therefore guarantee it a regular place in the headlines.
Why make historic moves on IRA disarmament and disbandment on a timescale to satisfy Ian Paisley and the DUP, when you can save them for a date much closer to either the 2007 Irish Dail elections or the 2011 Irish Presidential election in which Gerry Adams may well be a candidate?