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.