Damien Kiberd argues that Gerry Adams’ attempts to bring the IRA on board, will ineviatably face a concerted campaign amongst the press. He identifies two problems in particular that he believes causes anxiety in the Republican heartland at the prospect of IRA disbandment:
In the first place the process of dismantling the IRA’s military machine was supposed to take place in tandem with the dismantling of Britain’s military presence in the six counties. There is no particular evidence to show that Britain has taken this task seriously: even the Free State minister Dermot Ahern – who is no friend of Sinn Féin – drew attention to this problem in recent days.
Secondly, what will happen if loyalists attack Catholic districts in Belfast and elsewhere this summer or in 2006 and 2007? Clearly, members of the republican movement will try to defend their areas against attack, but if they do so will they not be accused of hypocrisy by the Dublin and London media.