First impressions on the IRA statement…

As Ed Moloney noted on RTE’s lunchtime news (26 mins in) today, this is a statement ending the campaign, not the right of the IRA to prosecute war against the British. Nor does it indicate a restructuring of the IRA into an old boys association. That would take an Army Convention. There is no evidence from this statement that such has taken place.

What it does say is that IRA arms are to be dumped. That there will then follow a deal that should seal all or some of those dumps. And that IRA volunteers “have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means”. Effectively, to jump ship from the IRA to Sinn Fein?

For good measure the clause the governments wanted in December to cover criminal activity, appears now to have been appended with: “Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever”.

No specific reference to policing, but no pejorative reference to the PSNI either. Indeed the relevant paragraph seems to pass the responsibility for the defence of Catholic neighbourhoods to ‘society’. Vague, yes. But it would seem to clear the way for the acceptance of a legitimate police force.

And it would appear that the IRA is now finally prepared to sign up to the principle of consent:

The IRA is fully committed to the goals of Irish unity and independence and to building the Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation. Our decisions have been taken to advance our republican and democratic objectives, including our goal of a united Ireland. We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country.

In short the statement looks like a tacit agreement to do what Unionists thought the IRA was already signed up to do within two years of the Belfast Agreement. Then, however, David Trimble decided to jump first and let the IRA follow in its own time.

Now the promissory note will have to be fulfilled entirely before Sinn Fein can expect any reciprocation from its new prospective dance partner in Northern Ireland – Ian Paisley and the DUP.

And so the party continues…

Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger.

While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.