THE IRA statement could be on the An Phoblacht presses already. The choreography has already started with the release of Sean Kelly, helping smooth the way for the immiment transition to the Adams’ “alternative”. Events are fairly predictable. It will not be enough for the DUP – they can afford to wait and see if actions meet words (but what level will they set the bar? For how long?) Ahern and Adams will back it as the “key to unlocking the process”, and a few military bases will be torn down. For most republicans it will be “historic”, again – but this time as potential partners in government, north and south.Meanwhile, back at the ranch, some loyalists will still be killing each other and others will be scratching their heads wondering what their purpose is now.
The role of the Ulster Unionists and SDLP in all this might be little more than bit parts. Empey is reduced to complaining that the UUP can’t hold the process to ransom any longer, while if Eddie McGrady represents the SDLP position, it doesn’t appear much different from unionism’s cynicism.