deja vu.. all over again

While waiting, again, for another ‘keynote’ speech from Gerry Adams– will it be any different this time? – Tom Brady in the Irish Independent has a clear and, IMO, accurate take on today’s speech – “THE Provisional republican movement is on the brink of making a major gesture to help the North’s peace process in a bid to boost their prospects in next month’s elections.“[emphasis added] The Policing Board is mentioned, see previous posts on that suggestion and/or a possible re-engagment with the DeChastelain decommissioning body.

For the benefit of those adverse to registering with the Irish Indepedent, the rest of the article is below –

Last night, the Irish and British governments were awaiting what was expected to be a highly significant announcement from either Sinn Fein or the IRA.

The contents of the imminent announcement are not known but will be linked to existing electoral strategies.

Official and republican circles in Belfast were last night awash with rumours about the gesture, which is confidently predicted to have a positive impact on the peace process.

Sinn Fein has been under heavy pressure in Belfast and other parts of the North following the disclosure that senior IRA men were involved in the brutal murder of Robert McCartney in a pub last December.

The fallout from the €38m Northern Bank raid in Belfast and the subsequent revelation that some of the stolen cash was being laundered in an IRA operation based in Cork also added to the pressure.

The declaration is being seen as a bid to recover perceived lost ground and boost their pavement politics campaign, which will be waged on local issues such as drugs and anti-social behaviour. If the gesture is political, it is likely to involve a big step forward by Sinn Fein – such as deciding to take part in the Northern policing boards. A paramilitary gesture from the IRA could result in a major act of arms decommissioning or a firm indication that the movement’s military wing was prepared to wind down its activities if substantial progress was achieved in other areas.

Sinn Fein has already launched a massive campaign on the streets in the North ahead of the local as well as the Westminster elections and the timing of a big gesture from the Provisionals will be crucial for their electoral prospects.

  • DaithiO

    “…in a bid to boost their prospects in next month’s elections.”

    I guess that’s called politics !

  • Levitas

    Oh ye of little faith, the man is damned if he does and damned if he doesnt by you cynics. I have it on very good authority that this speech will prove to be very significant, and will contribute greatly to the peace process reaching its natural conclusion, whereby armed groups will no longer have a place in Irish politics. Now there are some out there who were never happy with the peace process to start with and no matter what Gerry Adams says or does will never be enoough for them.

  • peteb

    Just as long as everyone’s aware that it’s simply electioneering, DaithiO.

  • iluvni

    I’m sure this afternoon’s episode of Neighbours will be as significant as this pre-election bluster.
    Action, not more words. How many times does Adams need to be told?

  • DaithiO

    Well the good doctor as spoken in his own inimitable way …

    http://www.breakingnews.ie/2005/04/06/story196861.html

    Anyone want to know why the peace goalposts keep moving need look no further than this IDIOT !

  • Bert Papworth

    The addition of the emphases “in a bid to boost their prospects in next month’s elections.” gives one a clear idea that the poster pete baker is intending to undermine the contents of the speech even before a word is uttered by Gerry Adams, lets just think that one through.
    Sinn Fein is a political party, the IRA is damaging that partys democratic credentials, if a statement which lays the basis for a winding down of IRA activities and presages an end to paramilitary activities is made by Sinn Feins Prsident surely that should be welcomed by any fair minded commentator? But people like Pete Baker are not fair minded commentators, they place that emphases as reproduced above to suggest that this is not going to be a sincere statement, thereby attempting to undermine its significance BEFORE they or anyone else has even heard what has to be said, now if that is not an example of a closed mind I don’t know what is. What is more it suggests to me that for some people their hatred of of Gerry Adams and all things to do with republicanism is so venomous as to have incapacitated their ability to engage in reasoned political discussion.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Never shouldn’t be a problem with Big Ian, he surely can’t remain in politics much longer – fingers crossed this might be his last election.

    Is it just me sick of hearing how much SF/IRA are doing for the peace process? It’s easier to make more steps towards peace when you’re starting so much further away! (And when you’ve votes to win!)

  • Dec

    “Just as long as everyone’s aware that it’s simply electioneering, DaithiO”

    Why, Pete? Perhaps you can give us all access to your little blue Crystal Ball that’s told you that whatever moves he proposes with no action will result.

  • Bob Wilson

    Did Paisley say ‘he’ would not share power with SF or the DUP would not share power.
    If he said ‘he’ this is probably just a realisation that if the Assembly ever gets up and going again he is now too old to play an active part. Or am I clutching at straws?

  • Occasional Commenter

    I’m glad that all the parties are getting into electioneering and playing politics. In a democracy, how else are we to know how to cast our vote?

  • peteb

    Bert and dec

    Future events, and not necessarily the speech itself, will show whether my opinion is correct.

  • DaithiO

    Bob Wilson… “Or am I clutching at straws?”

    If you’re hoping for any form of subtlety from a man whose political vocabulary only includes negative words like NO and NEVER then I fear you are !

  • Dec

    Clarification appreciated, Pete. However, in the future, you may not wish to include the phrase ‘as long as everyone’s aware that it’s simply electioneering’ when simply expressing your opinion. Having said that, people’s lack of enthusiasm is understandable.

  • Bert Papworth

    Pete you said

    “Future events, and not necessarily the speech itself, will show whether my opinion is correct.”

    But you can not possibly know what the speech contains, nor therefore what the future events may be that can arise from it.

    I therefore restate that your placing of the “emphases” on the news article implying a purely electioneering motive was based on
    either supposition or prejudice (in the true sense of the word-ie pre-judged), or quite possibly both.

    It is revealing because it provides an intriguing insight into the workings of a closed mind, very sad really.

  • Mick Hall

    It is difficult to see how Mr Adams can spin his way out of the current predicament his Party is in. Although of late this has been his and his Party’s practice. Which is why so many people are cynical about him? In truth there is only one thing he could announce which would satisfy the majority of people in Ireland; and then in all probability this would not be good enough for some. Myself I feel if the PRM have no intention of returning to war then they should stand the PIRA down. It is clear from the McCartney affair it is becoming more trouble than it is worth, (politically) as is inevitable with an army on perpetual ceasefire. A game of Christmas soccer OK, but seven years?

    This is not only a northern thing, in the South people are becoming sick of members of PIRA being unable to keep their sticky fingers in their pockets. Did Bobby Sands die so that his successor volunteers could smuggle cigarettes and pilfer from the docks, I think not. IM sure Mr Adams knows what has to be done and would like to do it, the question is does he have the will and the power to act. Perhaps we will find out this afternoon, good luck to him if he does.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick H, among the SF electorate there are likely to be a number of doubters, mainly among those who have only been voting SF during the past 5-7 years. I suspect that a major initiative by the IRA will, for such voters, be able to sufficiently tip the balance against the bad press we’ve seen since Christmas.

    I can’t see SF taking part in the police board at this stage. And if they did it’s not clear whether or not the other parties on the board would walk. In the light of Paisley’s remarks today I wonder how easy it will be for the DUP to avoid resigning from the board prior to an election.

  • FewsOrange

    Adams asks IRA to ‘fully embrace political means’

    Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has appealed to the IRA to “fully embrace…fully political and democratic means” to move the peace process forward.

    He asked the IRA to initiate internal dialogue with a view to making a transition to political means in the pursuit of their objectives.

  • Jarlaith K

    An address to the IRA – Gerry Adams

    The following is the text of a speech by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams in Belfast this afternoon.

    I want to speak directly to the men and women of Oglaigh na hEireann, the volunteer soldiers of the Irish Republican Army.

    In time of great peril you stepped into the Bearna Baoil, the gap of danger. When others stood idly by, you and your families gave your all, in defence of a risen people and in pursuit of Irish freedom and unity.

    Against mighty odds you held the line and faced down a huge military foe, the British crown forces and their surrogates in the unionist death squads.

    Eleven years ago the Army leadership ordered a complete cessation of military operations. This courageous decision was in response to proposals put forward by the Sinn Fein leadership to construct a peace process, build democratic politics and achieve a lasting peace.

    Since then despite many provocations and setbacks the cessation has endured.

    And more than that, when elements within the British and Irish establishments and rejectionist unionism delayed progress, it was the IRA leadership which authorised a number of significant initiatives to enhance the peace process.

    On a number of occasions commitments have been reneged on. These include commitments from the two governments.

    The Irish Republican Army has kept every commitment made by its leadership. The most recent of these was last December when the IRA was prepared to support a comprehensive agreement. At that time the Army leadership said the implementation of this agreement would allow everyone, including the IRA, to take its political objectives forward by peaceful and democratic means.

    That agreement perished on the rock of unionist intransigence. The shortsightedness of the two governments compounded the difficulties.

    Since then there has been a vicious campaign of vilification against republicans, driven in the main by the Irish government. There are a number of reasons for this. The growing political influence of Sinn Fein is a primary factor. The unionists also for their part, want to minimise the potential for change, not only on the equality agenda but on the issues of sovereignty and ending the union.

    The IRA is being used as the excuse by them all not to engage properly in the process of building peace with justice in Ireland.

    For over thirty years the IRA showed that the British government could not rule Ireland on its own terms. You asserted the legitimacy of the right of the people of this island to freedom and independence. Many of your comrades made the ultimate sacrifice. Your determination, selflessness and courage have brought the freedom struggle towards its fulfillment. That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I say this with the authority of my office as President of Sinn Fein.

    In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle. I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.

    Now there is an alternative.

    I have clearly set out my view of what that alternative is. The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally.

    I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann to fully embrace and accept this alternative.

    Can you take courageous initiatives which will achieve your aims by purely political and democratic activity?

    I know full well that such truly historic decisions can only be taken in the aftermath of intense internal consultation. I ask that you initiate this as quickly as possible.

    I understand fully that the IRAs most recent positive contribution to the peace process was in the context of a comprehensive agreement. But I also hold the very strong view that republicans need to lead by example. There is no greater demonstration of this than the IRA cessation in the summer of 1994.

    Sinn Fein has demonstrated the ability to play a leadership role as part of a popular movement towards peace, equality and justice. We are totally commited to ending partition and to creating the conditions for unity and independence. Sinn Fein has the potential and capacity to become the vehicle for the attainment of republican objectives.

    The Ireland we live in today is also very different place from 15 years ago. There is now an all-Ireland agenda with huge potential. ationalists and republicans have a confidence that will never again allow anyone to be treated as second class citizens. Equality is our watchword. The catalyst for much of this change is the growing support for republicanism.

    Of course, those who oppose change are not going to simply roll over. It will always be a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to maintain the status quo. But if republicans are to prevail, if the peace process is to be successfully concluded and Irish sovereignty and re-unification secured, then we have to set the agenda – no one else is going to do that.

    So, I also want to make a personal appeal to all of you – the women and men volunteers who have remained undefeated in the face of tremendous odds.

    Now is the time for you to step into the Bearna Baoil again; not as volunteers risking life and limb but as activists in a national movement towards independence and unity.

    Such decisions will be far reaching and difficult. But you never lacked courage in the past. Your courage is now needed for the future.

    It won’t be easy. There are many problems to be resolved by the people of Ireland in the time ahead. Your ability as republican volunteers, to rise to this challenge will mean that the two governments and others cannot easily hide from their obligations and their responsibility to resolve these problems.

    Our struggle has reached a defining moment.

    I am asking you to join me in seizing this moment, to intensify our efforts, to rebuild the peace process and decisively move our struggle forward.

  • Alan

    Interesting, no police board, no disbandment, but another process. Still, it’s a welcome movement all the same – once you strip away the necessary rhetoric.

    I wonder if it can be completed in the next four weeks.