Premature judgement ignores advances

Vincent Browne is one of the few mainstream voices in Irish journalism that is arguing that premature judgement of Sinn Fein is destructive of the democratic process. On the accusations that the party slid under the form of words required by the two governments:“It is true that the IRA baulked at the form of words proposed by the two governments on the issue of criminality. There was understandable reason for that: the IRA has always claimed that it does not engage in criminality.

“It says it is about a political struggle which, of course, involves methods that, under the present legal system, are illegal. But it rejects the characterisation of criminality, which was the issue at the core of the 1980 hunger strikes.

It is now clear that the IRA would have negotiated on a formula of words that would have taken care of the issue that was of concern to the governments and the other parties”.