How nationalism moved away from the gun…

Tom McGurk looks at the context of the IRA’s armed struggle, and how it has changed to bring Northern Irish nationalists to the point where armed struggle seems besides the point and even inimical to their future prosperity.

The peace process has fundamentally changed the Northern economic and cultural landscape and economic and educational demographics have produced a new nationalist population with burgeoning economic power and political expectations. In this context, the IRA had increasingly become an anachronism. As unionists this weekend survey the new post-IRA landscape, they might well consider that they have a unique, unfettered opportunity to do a political deal.