Initial response

Sir Reg Empey has made his initial response to the IRA statement of this morning.

As far as the UUP is concerned actions speak louder than words. We have seen only their words today. Since the IRA has killed thousands and injured thousands more, it is inexcusable that the statement claims that its ‘armed struggle was entirely legitimate’ but fails to express a single word of remorse.

It also leaves fundamental questions unanswered. Where is the confirmation of the disbandment of the IRA? What evidence will the Unionist community see that all weapons have actually been destroyed?

Republicans should realise that, having eroded Unionist confidence to such an extent, we will only judge this statement on the basis of what happens next.

Above all, this statement is an admission of failure by Republicans. Their bloody campaign to try and break the will and resolve of the pro-Union community did not work. They are now facing this reality and retreating under a cloak of rhetoric and choreography.

Mr Paisley has also been somewhat sceptical in reply.

We will judge the IRA’s bona fides over the next months and years based on its behaviour and activity.

  • Scott MacMillan

    “What evidence will the Unionist community see that all weapons have actually been destroyed?”

    Huh? Did this guy read the statement? Aren’t they’re following the same plan from December? (IICC verification, church witnesses, no pictures.) Maybe that doesn’t satisfy Unionists demands, but it’s rather disingenuous to pretend that the IRA has promised zero evidence of disbandment.

    Looks like the last six months have basically been the IRA giving one last flip of the bird to the rest of the world before bowing out the same way they’d intended to last December.

  • Jo

    Interesting position for Sir Reg, who can now watch how the DUP react over the next few months…the DUp couldnt secure Sean Kelly’s remaining in jail and their powerlessness in the face of government moves will become more apparent as time wears on…

  • Pacman

    “Their bloody campaign to try and break the will and resolve of the pro-Union community did not work”

    Correct me if I’m wrong but this was never the IRA’s objective. Their objective was to wear down the British government (and peoples) will to stay involved here. They didn’t achieve this but have probably moved their goal forward on this score. I think Reg also has to understand that the will and resolve of the anti-union community is similarly unbroken and our aspirations are probably more reinforced today than they were before the troubles ever started. As persuaders for the union, political unionism has failed as abjectly as republicanism in persuading the benefits of a UI.

  • 6countyprod

    Three things have brought us to today’s IRA statement:

    1. Post 9/11, Americans no longer tolerate terrorism as the means to a political end, and Irish-Americans will no longer finance violence in Ireland

    2. The realization in republican circles that, with the rise of the DUP, unionist concessions have ended

    3. The recognition that terror tactics are counterproductive and have proved to be futile and have accomplish nothing except fear and misery

    Let’s pray that this is, indeed, the end of the war, for everyone’s sake.

  • lib2016

    ‘…political unionism has failed as abjectly as republicanism…’

    The unionist lead at the last election was 69,000 votes and falling. Go on – themmuns are better at failing! 😉

  • Pacman

    Sorry Lib. I always try to avoid the “themmuns” jibes. 6county – I agree points 1 & 3 but I really can’t get this concessions lark. How can moves towards a just and equal society be considered a concession? IMHO Sinn Fein have never played to the DUP audience preferring instead to play to the British government audience. It was the same with the UUP. It strikes me that the republican movement have always played quid pro quo with the government as they are in the position to grant the quo for each quid.

  • 6countyprod

    Pacman, I take your point. No. 2 was just a tease. We are on a thread about the UUP, but no one wants to bite.

  • Gum

    Jo – you are right: the DUP have a tough few months ahead. What should their response be? “NO!”? Not going to win them any friends anywhere, and probably not the position of their more liberal wing. Empey and the UUP could have a way back in if they keep alert and seize their chance if the DUP fail to play their cards right.

  • Jo

    Pac:
    Thank you, it certainly promises to be an interesting six months and perhaps Sir Reg may be questioned on this when he appears at the “West Belfast Talks Back” debate next week.

  • G2

    “The DUP will quickly learn that the luxury of being able to grumble from the sidelines and blame everyone else is gone.”

    Well said Sir Reg ,

    Indeed, the tables are turned already one has only to read yesterday’s letters column news letter :

    DUP Has A Lot Of Explaining To Do Now
    Friday 5th August 2005
    I am concerned that steps will be taken by the Dublin Government in September to allow MPs and MEPs from Northern Ireland to speak in the Dublin Parliament and to participate in Dail committees. more

    DUP Is Making Unionists Angry
    Friday 5th August 2005
    In DUP MP Gregory Campbell’s victory speech in Ballymoney on May 6, he declared that unionism was finally “getting off its knees” under the strong and confident leadership of the DUP. However, since that day back in May when the DUP swept to power, unionism has been on the back foot, forced to deal with a series of sops to republicans which have left the unionist community demoralised, dejected and defeated. more

    Forget UUP And Drive The Car, Mr Paisley
    Friday 5th August 2005
    I take no gratification whatsoever in the DUP’s current predicament. more

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/content/letters_to_the_editor/

  • Trueseeker

    “The DUP will quickly learn that the luxury of being able to grumble from the sidelines and blame everyone else is gone.”

    Well said Sir Reg ,

    Indeed, the tables are turned already one has only to read yesterday’s letters column news letter :

    DUP Has A Lot Of Explaining To Do Now
    Friday 5th August 2005
    I am concerned that steps will be taken by the Dublin Government in September to allow MPs and MEPs from Northern Ireland to speak in the Dublin Parliament and to participate in Dail committees. more

    DUP Is Making Unionists Angry
    Friday 5th August 2005

    In DUP MP Gregory Campbell’s victory speech in Ballymoney on May 6, he declared that unionism was finally “getting off its knees” under the strong and confident leadership of the DUP. However, since that day back in May when the DUP swept to power, unionism has been on the back foot, forced to deal with a series of sops to republicans which have left the unionist community demoralised, dejected and defeated. more

    Forget UUP And Drive The Car, Mr Paisley
    Friday 5th August 2005

    I take no gratification whatsoever in the DUP’s current predicament. more

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/content/letters_to_the_editor/