Disbandment: debate rather than a split

Interesting piece from Paul Colgan in the Sunday Business Post which uses some authorative sources to argue that in the internal discussions within the Republican movement, unilateral disbandment is a workable option. Tommy McKearney: “There is a recognition in the leadership of the need to part ways with the old-style armed struggle republicanism”.

  • IJP

    An article of two halves, really!

    It is correct that activities similar to Northern Bank have been ongoing and that it is somewhat hypocritical to pick out the Northern Bank as the one that ends the process, as if previous misadventures didn’t count. To be charitable, perhaps it took something as large as Northern Bank just to illustrate the problem clearly to everyone, in Ireland and outside it. However…

    When the current political crisis dies down, the core issues blocking progress in the North will still remain – the existence of the IRA and the DUP’s refusal to sign up to power sharing.

    The DUP signed up to power-sharing in 1999, it just didn’t like to admit it! Did Mr McColgan not notice?!

    Already, analysts of the republican movement are looking to the autumn and talking of unilateral IRA disarmament and disbandment.

    Then those analysts are stupid. What would be in it for the IRA? If you can’t even ask the right questions, I don’t give much for your chances of finding the right answers.

    The political strategy adopted by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, which has taken 15 years to build up, has as its core objective power sharing with unionists.

    Really? First I’ve heard of it. I thought its core objective was a Socialist United Republic, but perhaps I was dreaming there?

    Sinn Féin is in the doghouse. The SDLP, the government and the White House have abandoned it.

    Ay, but how long will it remain in the doghouse? Not very, and SF knows it.

    Republican commentators, such as former Sinn Féin publicity officer Danny Morrison, have said only a fool would believe a return to violence would benefit the republican project.

    What sort of violence? There’s a difference between Canary Wharf and inciting stupid Loyalists in North Belfast…

    Sources also dismiss talk of tensions within Sinn Féin and the IRA. “It’s inconceivable that the ceasefire would be called off,” said one source.

    What ‘ceasefire’ is this?

    “It’s an option, but why would the IRA throw away all its cards?” he said. “It comes down to the DUP. It could turn around and say it wasn’t going to share power for another five years. As long as Ian Paisley remains DUP leader it will never share power with Catholics.”

    The analysis is nonsense, but given the DUP’s heritage I can see why many would share it. Therefore Morrison’s first point is precisely right, why throw away your cards?

    The unprecedented pressure being exerted on Sinn Féin by the two governments stems from the belief that the IRA is on an irreversible path towards disbandment.

    If the Governments believe that they’re even naiver than Mr McColgan (although, in the UK’s case, I wouldn’t discount that possibility)! The pressure stems from the reality that SF’s failure to commit to democratic means and SF’s continuing support for the maintenance of active terrorist mafia makes power-sharing democracy in NI impossible, and may even come to threaten it in the Republic.

    Ahern, said observers, would not play fast and loose with the Northern peace process

    Mr Ahern’s has recognized that this is not a ‘Northern peace process’, but rather an ‘Irish peace process’. He doesn’t want undemocratic elements threatening the Irish political system in the Republic any more than Mr Blair wants a bomb in London.

    This article is, therefore, incredibly naive. SF plays brilliantly on such naivety.