Feeney: they think it's all over…

That’s the verdict of Brian Feeney. The reason he cites is the collapse of what used to be pejoratively termed the pan nationalist front of Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the Irish government and supported from a distance by the US. The bank raid effectively killed off that consensus and has left Sinn Fein with no wider consensus to provide it with political cover for its unconventional relationship with the IRA.

He saves his punch until the end:

The unequivocal message Ahern delivered is that the continued existence of the IRA and progress towards democratic politics are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, he holds the political leadership of the republican movement responsible for delivering an end to the IRA and will no longer buy the nonsense of being unable to placate the ‘hard men’.That explains the note of consternation in the long IRA statement. The governments have changed the basis of the peace process and only the Taoiseach could do it. He told them the game’s up. Put it another way. They think it’s all over – it is now.

  • spirit-level

    Thanks be to God

  • ShayPaul

    Let’s see how good the voice of Unionism will be during the end game, now that the ultimate excuse for not engaging is being removed by one and all.

    They have gone away you know …..

  • spirit-level

    “the ultimate excuse for not engaging is being removed by one and all.”
    I’d say your jumping your fences there quite a bit.
    Whoa there neddy!
    SF extricating itself from IRA?
    Its still the middle game here

  • ShayPaul

    Of course if the voice of Unionism doesn’t seize the opportunity they could resuscitate the corpse. The old necromancer has done it before.

  • spirit-level

    I agree with that one.
    Right now the heat is not on Unionism to the same extent.
    Should we get a “spectacular” internal split within SF/IRA and public confidence
    ( particularly with the people of Northen Ireland .. never mind the Brits ) is restored
    the Unionists will have to sit down face to face with whomsoever represents Nationalism.
    I’m looking forward to that ShayPaul 🙂

  • Robert Keogh

    Feeney is absolutely right. It is time the PIRA faced up to the inevitable outcome of the peace process.

    I think Ahern and Blair are playing a somewhat risky but canny endgame. Threatening the political gains SF have made over the past 10 years. It can succeed but there are a couple of unknowns out there that could scupper it.

    If the various loyalist groupings could somehow be persuaded to engage in side-by-side decommissioning with the PIRA the whole situation could be radically transformed. Does anyone have any info on the status of these talks? I havent’t seen a peep of data worth a damn in years.

  • Davros

    one thing that would be helpful to know at this stage so that we can properly assess our position.
    What % of their arsenal have the IRA already decommissioned. If it’s 50% then I would have trust in their commitment.If 5% I wouldn’t.

  • ShayPaul

    48.2%

    Just guessing – which is all you’ll ever get as an answer to an impossible question.

  • Davros

    I don’t think it’s an unreasonable question.
    One that should be asked by our politicians.
    If it is as miserably low as 5% then this has been a charade. If it’s considerably higher then the RM deserves credit and the dubious secrecy involved has damaged the process unnecessarily. If it is only a small percentage then the imposition of secrecy becomes understandable.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Feeny is (my goodness I can’t believe I’m writing this) correct. Sinn Fein have managed to achieve something which no Unionists could ever have hoped to deliver, namely the dismantling of the pan-nationalist front.

    Well done, Gerry!

  • spirit-level