IRA statement expected within days…

That’s the BBC view from Barney Rowan, who is one of a handful of journalists in a position to know and one of their top analytical editors, Mark Devenport.Rowan notes the pressure from developments in the outside world:

In the same way that after the 11 September attacks speeded up the movement towards decommissioning, Gerry Adam and Martin McGuinness will have to ensure that off the back of the London attacks that they get the IRA to the right side of the political lines. That is why the statement has to be crystal clear. If it requires a dictionary to understand, then Tony Blair will put it in the bin.

And there is some circumstantial evidence that ‘something’ is in the wind:

There are a number of interesting little pointers: General de Chastelain and Andrew Sens – his colleague on the decommissioning body – have remained in Dublin. Adams and McGuinness are the “two most significant figures”.

The other thing we should watch out for over the next day or two is for any developments over the case of Sean Kelly. Kelly – the Shankill bomber – was recently returned to jail after the secretary of state suspended his early release licence. Up to this point, he has not made an application to the Sentence Review Commission. I imagine over the next days we might get some indication that that application is now being made.


If the statement was to come out in the course of the next week that would have the benefit for people like Tony Blair could be around in order to give a reaction to it. At the time of the 11 September attacks, people said that this would have speeded up IRA decommissioning and made it more definite. It would also give a bit of a run-up time to any report from the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) in the autumn. There is a logic to the IRA moving a little sooner rather than later because the IMC will not have anything to verify if the IRA move comes just before they are about to report.