What is the IRA here for?

Interesting analysis from Chris Thornton in the Irish Independent, in which he argues that the Bank Raid was a tipping point in the relationship between Sinn Fein, the IRA and the two governments. He doesn’t believe it will affect the party’s onward and upward trajectory in the short term, but the raid and the IRA’s criminal activities will remain centre stage in any future negotiations. He notes (via a quotation from Slugger) too that on this occasion, the IRA seems to have been the last actor to realise that all bets were off.

He notes a tragic incident in Tyrone the day before the robbery of the Northern Bank:

It’s obscured now by piles of Northern Bank notes, but it happened. A bleak weekend in December produced one of those little glimmers of hope to which people in Northern Ireland cling.

Patrick McGrath, a 75-year-old former postmaster, had been smothered after a break-in at his home in Coalisland, Co Tyrone. His elderly sister had been beaten, the town was scandalised and their MP had something to say about it.

Martin McGuinness, chief negotiator for Sinn Fein and acknowledged IRA leader, said he was “shocked… that individuals in our society are so devoid of feelings that they can find subjecting our senior citizens to this brutality acceptable”. Anyone with information about the murder, he added, should talk to whatever authority he thought appropriate.

Thornton notes that, “in a confirmed republican town like Coalisland it was decoded enough to see that cooperation with the police was okay”.

Towards the end he examines reasons cited in the past of the positive role played by the IRA:

The argument used to be that the IRA was necessary to the peace process. Ronnie Flanagan, the former Chief Constable of the RUC and no friend of the Provos, used to say they provided discipline that the process needed by controlling weapons and people. Now, after a decade, that’s changed.

In spite of P O’Neill’s threatening tone, most republicans agree there will be no return to war. It would cripple Sinn Fein’s growth and, anyway, the peace process was founded on the basis that the war couldn’t be won.

Danny Morrison, Sinn Fein’s former director of publicity, wrote in Daily Ireland that “the reason why a return to armed struggle would be foolhardy is because it would be a return to military stalemate”.

He ends the piece with an awkward question for the Republican movement: “if it is incapable of waging war and incompatible with peace, what is the IRA there for?”

  • Brian Boru

    What is the IRA for?

    Consider this:

    If the robbers are the hares
    and the cops are the hounds.

    You have to say to SF/IRA:

    My dear fellows:

    “You can’t run with the hare
    And hunt with the hound “

    ( I would like to have run this as a separate blog,
    but I don’t know how to do it )

    In Maths you have Venn diagrams to describe realites of exclusion and exclusion, and Electro-magnetism to describe polarities and modes of attraction and repulsion.

    My above quote serves to show that even in a mathematical sense, (aside from the moral implications) its impossible to do both (hare/hound):

    You’re going to be spotted.

    This is the REALITY of the Game

    There’s no way out except by making a choice!

    Mick, I wonder if you’re “Prisoners Dilema” can corroborate this?

  • Brian Boru

    In Maths you have Venn diagrams to describe realites of exclusion and inclusion*

  • vespasian

    Possibly as a violent expresssion of the RTE studio commentator who, immediately after today’s Italy v Ireland rugby match, said ‘after 500 years of oppression’ we will take any good fortune or good luck I can’t remember the exact ending of the phrase but the beginning is correct.

    Is this how we in Ireland really are in 2005 – with a 500 year chip on our shoulders?

  • Jimmy Sands

    It used to be 800 years. 500 years represents progress.

  • cg

    It’s more like 900 years but who’s counting

  • IJP

    It’s more like 900 years but who’s counting

    What is?

  • maca

    “Is this how we in Ireland really are in 2005 – with a 500 year chip on our shoulders?”

    Probably taking the piss vespasian.

    vespa owner?

  • tebzz3

    “Anyone with information about the murder, he added, should talk to whatever authority he thought appropriate.”
    I would interpet that comment as saying go to the provos, however the journo obviously needed a “man bites dog story” not a “dog bites man”

    Brian, I believe in maths it is not possible to make as many assumtions as you have and get a plausible answer, you can however generate whatever answer you desire to get.

    Consider this:

    If the robbers are the cops or unionists or someone else ….

    would your ditty still rhyme

  • tebzz3

    “Anyone with information about the murder, he added, should talk to whatever authority he thought appropriate.”
    I would interpet that comment as saying go to the provos, however the journo obviously needed a “man bites dog story” not a “dog bites man”

    Brian, I believe in maths it is not possible to make as many assumtions as you have and get a plausible answer, you can however generate whatever answer you desire to get.

    Consider this:

    If the robbers are the cops or unionists or someone else ….

    would your ditty still rhyme

  • Brian Boru

    I accept that tebzz3
    NI is a moral quagmire
    I’m still going to carry on attempting to create some models that maybe useful in conflict-resolution.

  • tebzz3

    brian i think conflict resolution needs a more even handed approach,
    to paraphrase “…you create a desert and call it peace..”
    by merely kicking nationalists of the playing field will produce a limited resolution.

  • vespasian

    Maca

    NO and NO

    I just think than continued repetition of this type of remark does nothing for the people of Ireland and prolongs division.

    I am somewhat surprised that you condone this remark by an RTE presenter in 2005, or maybe you agree with it as a sentiment and expression of national feeling.