Glenn Frankel, London bureau chief of The Washington Post poses the question that’s gripping some in America, and not simply because of its abiding interesting in all matters Irish around this time of year:
Can a paramilitary organization ever leave behind its violent past and reconcile itself to becoming just another voice in a country’s political power structure?
He goes on to make a negative judgement on the Republican movements impact on local civil society:
The IRA and Sinn Fein have long ruled certain areas, protecting residents from hostile outside forces but controlling them with a ruthless discipline not unlike that wielded by the Communist Party in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The IRA is not just a paramilitary organization, but a way of life. Everything from child-care centers to local jobs to youthful misbehavior fall under its purview. Those who stray can be ostracized, beaten or even shot.