A pertinent quote at the end of this New York Times report on Adams’ speech, from Paul Bew, professor of politics at Queens University, on the tactics being deployed by Sinn Féin – “You have to say, ideologically, that it is selling the same horse twice.”The call for “initiatives” can be seen as an attempt to return to the situation last December and the stated position of the IRA then, still available on SF’s website, and probably worth noting – if only as a comparison to whatever eventual response flows from their ‘internal consultation’ –
IRA statement – 9 December, 2004
“More than ten years ago, an IRA cessation publicly heralded the onset of the Irish peace process. Since then, the IRA has, time and again, demonstrated its commitment to sustaining and developing that process through a series of very significant and substantive initiatives.
In the context of the work to conclude a comprehensive agreement, the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann decided:
– to support a comprehensive agreement by moving into a new mode which reflects our determination to see the transition to a totally peaceful society;
– all IRA Volunteers be given specific instructions not to engage in any activity which might thereby endanger that new agreement;
– the IRA leadership also decided that we will, in this context, conclude the process to completely and verifiably put all our arms beyond use;
– we instructed our representative to agree with the IICD the completion of this process, speedily, and if possible by the end of December;
– to further enhance public confidence we agreed to the presence of two clergymen as observers during this process.
The IRA leadership decided to contribute in this way to a comprehensive agreement to resolve all outstanding issues, including those of concern within unionism. For his part, Ian Paisley demanded that our contribution be photographed, and reduced to an act of humiliation.
This was never possible. Knowing this, he made this demand publicly as the excuse for his rejection of an overall agreement to create a political context with the potential to remove the causes of conflict. As the IRA leadership has said before, this is a context in which Irish republicans and unionists can, as equals, pursue our respective political objectives peacefully.
We restate our commitment to the peace process. But we will not submit to a process of humiliation.
We commend our Volunteers and the wider republican base for their patience and discipline in these testing times. Our commitment, like theirs, to our republican objectives is undiminished.
We thank those who have made genuine contributions to the efforts to find solutions to ongoing problems. While acknowledging these efforts, we reiterate our view that progress cannot be made by pandering to the demands of those who are against change.
The search for a just and lasting peace is a challenging one. The IRA leadership has risen to that challenge. The British Government and the leaders of unionism must do likewise.”
Irish Republican Publicity Bureau
And on that ‘internal consultation’, I must just link to this timely article on the new disease of consultation by the BBC’s Mark Devenport.
Also worth noting at this point, courtesy of Slugger’s own archives, we can see that the horse that was put up for sale then didn’t meet anyone’s requirements – More than one issue still unresolved