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.