Unionists will decide when IRA is sincere

Peter Robinson looks back over the IRA’s record and finds a plausibility gap between that organisation’s words and actions. He also argues that there has been an unseemingly airbrushing of last week’s statement’s ambiguity in an attempt to fast track political progress in NI.

Almost a decade ago the IRA announced it was all over but within a few months the murders and criminality were back on its agenda. Yet again they declared a ceasefire but they failed to cease. They have peppered the recent years with promises and carefully crafted statements. Each of their statements was heralded as groundbreaking and historic by governments and the media but after each the IRA always reverted to what it does best. A few days ago another statement made grand claims about the IRA’s intentions. Where it was imprecise or vague in its language its friends in government and the press provided a favourable interpretation permitting the IRA to avoid clarifying for itself.

He also notes:

The lack of transparency on arms decommissioning and the absolute silence on criminality will significantly prolong the assessment period the community will demand in order that we can judge whether the IRA’s war is over for ever and its criminal empire is closed down.

Time to get ready for another long wait…

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    I don’t think there’s anything inherently inaccurate in what he’s saying, particularly:
    “A few days ago another statement made grand claims about the IRA’s intentions. Where it was imprecise or vague in its language its friends in government and the press provided a favourable interpretation permitting the IRA to avoid clarifying for itself.”

    Maybe it’s well intentioned, an effort to promote peace, or maybe they’re just hyping it up for ratings/sales, but the media are reading things that weren’t specifically written, and telling us what the IRA meant. This wouldn’t happen if the IRA were clear and the IRA had months to write this statement so there’s no reason why they couldn’t have been clear if they’d wanted to be.

    This leads me, among others, to the simple conclusion that they were deliberately ambiguous or selective in what they said (as so much of the ‘peace process’ has been and continues to be).

    I’ve always thought the best “liars” are those who can make people believe something without actually saying it.

  • lib2016

    Any chance of a similar statement on the Garnerville escapade or was he busy on the Canadian missionfields as his boss always was in the good old days?

    We’re coming to the end of the endgame and Robinson can only come up with this rubbish? Poor stuff!

  • circles

    Theres nothing inherently new in what he’s saying anyway – unlike what we’re hearing from other quarters. No surprises in this article at all.
    The trademark moaning, lack of vision and leadership, and downright refusal to acknowledge that we could have a future without the IRA reads like a DUP election special – and there aren’t even any looming.
    Unless of course Peter has another election in mind. Is he just reminding us that his no can be just as pig-headed as the good Dr.’s?
    So we’re now in a position were we’re effectively heading towards a demilitaristion of our society (except of course for the loyalist thug gangs), with political movement from all quarters except the DUP (the party the thug gangs vote for).
    Nobody would ever expect a positive move from the DUP with regard to the peace process – but an idea of what they see as a REALISTIC way forward (i.e. where all voters have their representatives recognised) would have been nice.

  • slug

    That sway with the more sceptical unionist voters – the implicit faith that the more sceptical unionists have in Dr Paisley – gives the DUP a bargaining hand, asuming they keep their cool and don’t lose their nerve.

    Clearly there is a deal to be done over the next year or two, and Dr Paisleys endorsement will, if it comes, be a powerful stabilising force in the new arrangements, once negotiated.

    How the DUP choose to play the longer term negotiations can really only be judged with the benefit of hindsight.

  • circles

    “Dr Paisleys endorsement will, if it comes, be a powerful stabilising force in the new arrangements, once negotiated” – has a mighty ominous tone to it. Makes one think that if it doesn’t come up to one man’s notion of what he thinks is right that he’ll give a metaphorical nod to let loose the hounds until everybody has learnt a bit of his sense.
    The problem with this is that the good Dr.’s implies that what is needed is a slow boat to Hades for all republicans – with compliant nationalists being tolerated. And Peter doesn’t really inspire hope for change in this article.

  • Dessertspoon

    Peter is just a nodding dog trying to make sure that when the time comes he’ll get the nod over Dodds. I don’t think he really believes a lot of what he says. He is a realist, a pragmatist and he wants the big chair some time in the future.

  • Fanny

    Sinn Fein’s dishonesty put the DUP in charge.
    They can suck it up.

  • Jo

    Slug:
    Agree about Doc’s seal of approval being vital. Given though that he has suffered ill health and will turn 80 next summer, I am pessimistic about a deal being done within a timespan where he is genuinely able to endorse this. Should be pass on or be incapacitated, there will be numerous interpreters of his will.
    One should hope, for stability, that the pragmatist element of the DUP remains relatively coherent and the more significant influence on a party which is largely the creation of one man.

  • circles

    “Should he pass on or be incapacitated, there will be numerous interpreters of his will.” – sounds extremely papal.
    What one can only hope for is that the DUP willn then stop trying to interpret Papa Docs will and maybe listen to all people of the north.

  • Jo

    Circles, I was tempted to type “His Will” 😉

  • JD

    It is clear now that the DUP need the IRA. They are absolutely bereft of ideas when the excuse of the IRA is removed from them. This is demonstrated by Papa Doc’s call for SF to now be banned from Government, the DUP are floundering.

  • Jacko

    Yes JD your so right of course the DUP needs the IRA.What a pathetic statement.Considering the IRA has spent the last number of years shooting people in the back,leaving landmines at the side of roads to blow innocent people into oblivion,hid behind hedges with masks on and waited for innocent fathers to return home from work and rob children of a parant etc,etc,etc.
    Wise up and stop coming of with such dribble.

  • circles

    Jacko:
    A tirade doesn’t disguise the fact that without the IRA the DUP are up the political creek without a paddle (or a bogey-man).
    Rants against the IRA were 90% of the political discourse at the DUP – without them I had hoped it would get a little quieter round their way. But like a phantom limb they never wanted to loose the DUP are going to keep on feeling the IRAs presence for a long, long time after they were amputated.
    We can of course expect the nonsense of IRA/SF to continue in the absence of the IRA, as much as we can expect Dr. No and his sheep to not change their programme one bit. And thats a tragedy for us all.

  • levee

    Surely the DUP have to quit naysaying at some point? IRA activity was the primary reason not to go into government with terrorists – we’ve heard it many times.

    If the IRA prove themselves – and hopefully they will – then there is no barrier to negotiation, is there? Of course, the DUP would then have to think long and hard about real issues.

    Which is more likely? The IRA standing down, or the DUP having a sensible, all-inclusive peace strategy?

  • The Dog

    I think it was susan mckay that puy it best.

    Unionists don’t have clue what to do so they fan the flames of fear within their constituency and see where that leads them. (in summary.

    Has anyone noticed that the BBC ahs refused to allow any victims of state violence – such as the miami showband or other RIR victims – anywhere near its programmes.

  • circles

    “He will negotiate with his colleagues a deal which suits the Unionist people and which meets our demands”.
    The “we” implied by the “our demands” TR – would they include the demands of the loyalist thug gangs who vote for the DUP?

    Its easy to rant on about concessions (after being guaranteed a permanent majority in a gerry-mandered state one has to wonder what other concession unionists might actually be seeking but anyway… )but what exactly are you (plural) looking for?

  • JD

    T.ruth,

    This political chest beating might have sounded plausable immediately after the last election, but the last number of days have shift the ground considerably. The DUP are on the back foot and can only react to events as they happen around them, with little or no influence over them. The only aspect of the agreement that the DUP can now have a veto over the restoration of the assembly.

    The mantra about this means everyone will have to wait longer sounds hollow. Once the two Governments have honoured their committments under the agreement focus turns to the DUP. If their only argument is that the people of the north are not going to have devolution because the DUP are in a huff, I think they will be on very weak ground indeed. It will not be republicans who will have to apply the pressure but, for once, the two governments, their own people and international opinion will be lined up against the DUP demanding movement and they will not be waiting for two years.

  • Suffolk_West_Belfast

    levee,

    Don’t you think we shouldf be waiting to see what happens before giving out even more consessions??

    Don’t put the cart before the horse…

  • lib2016

    ‘…the BBC has refused to allow any victims of state violence…’

    The desperate efforts to keep TG4 and the rest of RTE out of the North at the time of the GFA and the BBC refusal to allow Irish culture a proper place since show us that some at least of the unionist leaders realise the importance of your point.

    The upcoming changes when the effect of nationalism breaking out of the ghettoes and the implementation of the GFA start to bite are going to show unionism in a very dubious light.

    The contrast between the mighty Scots-Irish cultural colussus and all the various Irish cultural movements is going to be er- interesting.

  • Fanny

    Yes, wide availability of Pat Kenny Live can only herald the coming 32-county socialist utopia.

  • darthrumsfeld

    Desperate attempts to keep out TG4? Methinks not. Unionists all love the irish culture of ..er John Wayne movies and Aussie Rules. Some of the Celtic matches were quite good too- pity they didn’t have last week’s tie against the mighty Artmedia Bratislava

    BTW, has anyone noticed that Artmedia Bratislava is actually an anagram of “masonic conspiracy”?

    It isn’t?

    Well it should be

  • Fanny

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the Shinners are running out of things to complain about.

  • middle-class taig

    Fanny

    Just as the DUP are coming into a fortune of them…

    Go figure.

  • Fanny

    Yes, MCT, that would be all well and good – if only the Shinners would STOP complaining.

  • middle-class taig

    f

    give them time to kick the habit?

    DR

    v. funny

  • lib2016

    ‘…wide availability of Pat Kenny….’

    as opposed to that fella from Cork, Graham Norton on the BBC? 😉

    Actually that’s my point – Unionists have far more in common with the Southern middleclass than they realise. The whole ‘British’ thing is so out of date whereas being Irish is cool.

    The absurdity of applying to Brussels through a Westminster Parliament which despises them and rejects their every idea is going to show itself to unionists as never before as 32-County politics continues to grow.

  • circles

    “Unionists will decide when IRA sincere” – thank goodness for that, I actually thought that I would have to make a decision there for myself. Heaven forbid – free thought, God knows where that’ll lead.
    There is still something bothering me though. As I said to T. Ruth before it was red carded – Its easy to rant on about concessions (after being guaranteed a permanent majority in a gerry-mandered state one has to wonder what other concession unionists might actually be seeking but anyway… )but what exactly are these Uninoist demands?
    Is it really the “no power sharing with SF – EVER” of the good Dr? But sure thats mad (as Fr Dougal would say)

  • Fanny

    “The whole ‘British’ thing is so out of date whereas being Irish is cool.”

    This is possibly the most trite, shallow and patronising attitude to anyone’s nationhood I’ve ever read – although it’s a common enough theme amongst a certain kind of Irish person. This desperate need to believe that the whole world loves you is a bit sad really, isn’t it.

    I’m well aware of the fact that being British is not going to win me any international popularity awards. But you know what? I’m still British. And I don’t give a monkey’s.

  • looking in

    what with the likley dissappearance of NI bank notes once the treasurey stiff the four locals for the real cost of guaranteeing their toy-town notes (which are even less recognised that my scottish ones)it seems as if every bastion of Norn Iron is under attack, there are even those southern accented adverts they show now because UK advertising industry looks at map and thinks “Ireland”

    Unionists will just have to accept that they no longer have a veto on progress, whatever direction it takes us: sunday shopping, gay-marrigaes in the hallowed cherry room, closer to or even a united ireland etc. Decsions are being made above and beyond their control or influence.

  • Fanny

    Errr, those NI banknotes will be replaced with Bank of England notes, Mod edit: Insult removed. Please stop doing this

  • The Dog

    I’m British, no really I was born in London and have no Irish roots – but when I go on holiday I always tell people that I live in Ireland (Belfast) and leave the jump up to them (i.e I’m not a Brit).

    I am not proud to make this admission – because it is a disgrace and because I know that you can drink in as many Irish bars as you like and it won’t ever make you Irish – and by extension that you can eat scones, jam and cream and wear union jack knickers but it won’t make you British – but with years of travelling in Europe, Asia, Russia, the Carribean, South America, North America I know that it just makes it much easier.

  • looking in

    fanny – that was tw@t of a comment – I did not think it necessary to explain that the likliehood was the BoE notes would become the everyday currency – the point was that things NI are being eroded daily and relentlessly… follow the logic

  • lib2016

    If someone has a genuine national identity I’m very happy to acknowledge it – English, Scots, Welsh or whatever you’re having yourself. The ‘British’ label is something left over from a long gone empire but your acknowledgement of its unpopularity abroad is interesting.

    Congratulations on your adoption of the English football hooligan defence. “Nobody loves us and we don’t care”. It’s good to know that you model yourself on the great thinkers of our time rather than being as trite, shallow and patronising as I apparently am.

  • yoda

    It’s hard not to come to the opinion that unionism is guaranteeing its own demise through its intransigence. Britain itself is making this clearer and clearer as each day goes by.

    It is also very much out of step with the majority of those it supposedly identifies with on the island of Britain. Thankfully, the identity of the post-colonial Britishness has been changing for the better for years. And, realistically, what can unionism actually do?

    General strike? Threaten not to vote with a lame-duck British parliament?

    Or something more closely allied to terrorism?

    I say this because I have to wonder at the veiled threats of violence/ terrorism that are becoming common currency among some posters here. It seems that if you scratch these guys, you’ll find a Johnny Adair underneath.

  • Hyw

    “If someone has a genuine national identity I’m very happy to acknowledge it – English, Scots, Welsh or whatever you’re having yourself”

    Can anyone explain to me what a genuine nationality is? Is there a time limit on the creation of the Nation? Just curious. Would the United States qualify? Or the Federal Republic of Germany or Spain or Italy all of these countries are made up of older Kingdoms combined together quite recently. Would the nationality of British have qualified before the invasion by the Anglo Saxons when the various tribes were regarded as Britons by the Romans.

  • Fanny

    Well Lib2016 the ‘logic’ of your post would seem to be that partition is doomed because the four main local banks might have to compound the interest on their note issues daily instead of weekly. Reaching a bit, aren’t you?
    One could easily say that the likely outcome of the situation suggests a more integrated United Kingdom. Mod edit: Insult deleted. Please stop doing this

  • yoda

    Hyw,

    Ever heard of speech-act theory? I’d suggest that nationality might be usefully considered along the lines of an act of speech or writing that institutes an arrangement, like a contract. You are X because you are told you’re X, X corresponding to the current political manifestation of the place you were born. X can change depending on shifts in that political manifestation.

    How you “grow” into X is a more slippery problem: psychological analysis of the vicissitudes of the consequent introjections, incorporations, etc., might be a place to start.

  • The Beach Tree

    Hyw

    If you’re actually interested, as opposed to being facetious, the Montevideo convention and its take on the National Right to Self-determination might make a good start.

    You could also try Woodrow Wilsons 14 points if you were so inclined.

    Perhaps the point being made is that it is difficult, and arguably not legal, in international terms to attempt to create artifically a national identity. some would further argue that by allowing partition, that is exactly what the UK did.

    The State of the UK is clearly made up of several ancient nations who have in theory exercised their rights of self-determination to bring about the state of the UK of GB and NI.

    In practice, Wales accepted its place on the investiture of Henry VII Tudor, Scotland on the crowning of James (VI) I of GB, and Ireland by the will of its sovereign parliament in the 1790’s. Except Wales was essentially conquered, Scotland joined by little more than historical accident and the refusal of Eliz. I to marry, and Ireland’s parliament, unrepresentative and discriminatory as it was, still had to be bribed out of existance.

  • overhere

    I’m well aware of the fact that being British is not going to win me any international popularity awards. But you know what? I’m still British. And I don’t give a monkey’s.

    Poor fanny, actually your not British you are a citizen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Only those born in England, Scotland or Wales can call themselves British. I should know after all I am British, having actually been born in Britain not in Ireland, be that North or South

  • Fanny

    Geography is not destiny, Overhere, nationality is neither and you are not the Home Secretary.
    I sincerely hope you’re not telling me to ‘get back to my own country’? Because that would make you a Mod edit: Insult deleted. Please stop doing this.

  • lib3016

    The ‘British’ identity, whatever its origins, became a way of identifying certain members of the British Empire – up until 1949 it included the Australians and Canadians for example which is why they carried British passports. Then it became a useful administrative tool to help define groups like the Ugandan Asians or the Hongkong Chinese.

    What I’m saying is that it is very much an evolving administrative convenience imposed from above rather than a definition of nationality as say, Scottish or Welsh or indeed Irish is.

    My view is that already the important administrative label on us all, Irish or British, is our citizenship of the EU as shown by the fact that we all have EU passports.

    Irish unity will come, quite quickly IMHO, but it will not be an Irish unity constrained by every crackpot 19th century idea about the nation/state.

  • Dave

    There is a sound of independence in the air at the moment (and it’s not irish independence)

    The unionist community have always stated that independence would be the fall back position, now that the penny has dropped I’m sure that the viable solution of independence will now be on the unionist politicians agenda.

    Come on Tony, Bertie and George one more act of betrayal should do it.

  • Brendan

    There is not a mission that an independent Northern Irish state could come into existence. Should Unionists gain control of it as is likely given their majority it’d be back to the days of the old Stormont parliament or worse – so dream on Dave!

  • lib2016

    ‘There is a sound of independence……..’

    No possible chance but it is an interesting example of just how daft unionist proposals have become. Just for starters it would not be possible without a change in the border and massive movements in population. How many unionist leaders are up for risking a 25 years sentence from the International Court?

    Remember that you are talking about a bunch of politicans who ran away and hid rather than confront the Garnerville hoodies!

  • Moderate Unionist

    lib3016
    Reference your 07:17 post. Can we take it that Unification has now been put back 100 years?

  • lib2016

    Sorry, in honour of last week’s statement I was putting my watch forward 200 years and overdid it slightly. 😉

  • looking in

    Independent NI – you are having a joke surely…..

    As an unfortunate who recalls and did campaign in the “free by ’93” and we have a damn better case that the rump of unionist in NI so dream on – there will be TWO options sometime in the future a) a united ireland or b) sling your hook and move to the “mainland”, after all you’re British(?)

  • Fanny

    So yes, you actually are saying ‘Get back to your own country’.

    Tell us, Mod edit: Fanny, you really need to learn how to play the man not the ball. This is not the first time you’ve had to be told this. – how would you deport those in England who fail the Tebbit test? Plane or boat?

  • Fanny

    You’ll make someone a great mother.

  • Hyw

    The Beach Tree,

    The point I think I am trying to make is that all constructs of Nationality are artificial whether recent or ancient whether created in an oppresive manner or not. My nationality is British which is what best describes both the administrative region in which I live the cultural values which which I identify (i.e. I identify most with the present day manifestation of Britain as opposed to the ancient nations of which I am a product – I am a genetic product of all of the ancient nations of GB). The reason I can see my self as British is because I don’t associate it with British colonial oppression anymore than I would expect a German citizen to believe he were an Nazi.

  • Jo

    In terms of self-identified citzenhood, I wonder what, if any, research shows how many people living in Scotland and Wales seem themselves as British rather than Scottish and Welsh respectively, and compare that to the (I would guess, higher) percentage of people living in England who see themselves as British?

  • martin

    I bet not many people in the DUP would think too much of Peter Robinson if they were aware that he had close blood relatives who regarded themselves as fully Irish–they are the Glazier family from Kilrush co Clare ,and the Johnson family from Birdhill co Tipperary—he used to sneak down south–and visit them as late as 1991 when Sadie Johnson died he stopped.–he used to carry a side arm for his own protection during these visits–which was illegal transporting of weapons under Irish law—but heres the really fun part Sadie ,s husband Richard Johnson was a man well respected in that community–not least because he was a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army during 1919-21.

  • martin

    p.s sadie was a first cousin of Peters mother

    and incidently Richard took the anti-treaty side during the civil war–if anyone wants to dispute peters sneak visits to Clare I suggest they contact Kilrush gardai station—they provided him with covert protection during his visits in the 80,s

    I remember paisley making some allusion regarding a distant relative of Trimbles wife having Republican connections in 1920S–people who live in glass houses!!!

    btw anyone interested should look into the military arcieves in Collins baracks Dublin–where Richards period of active service is recognised as well as his IRA pension.

    I wonder is Peter descended from that well none republican hero and friend of Dan Breen–Seamus Robinson of the 3 tipperary brigade old IRA.

  • Fishfiss

    Martin

    What’s your source for this info on Robbo ?

  • Frank

    Fanny and all the other microcephalics such as the paramilitaries, all the unions are safe – believe it. When the Taigs control NI do you think they will stop milking the British cow – certainly not. Indeed would there be any chance of us getting into the Scottish parliament through our Ulster Scots credentials. We’d be tri-cultural, tri -national, tri – parliamentarian, absolutely on the gravy train. I want all my rights – believe me.

    Incidently does UK mean England Scotland and Wales only, with NI tacked on as a temporary appendage. That would worry be as it could easily be hacked off, and then where would we be.

  • martin

    I have a network of spies all over Ireland.

    no seriously–a cop from Kilrush
    the Johnstons neighbours in the area of Carrowfree/knockerra/kilimer–many of whom met him and actually they were quite surprised at how friendly and amiable he was in real life-he left quite a good impression.
    THE military pensions of Ira men during 1920,s
    Interestingly enough Richards father (they were all protestants)disowned him for life when he found out about his sons activities and they never met again-the father blamed Richard for setting fire to his hay shed out of bitterness something the son always denied to his dying day.

    By all accounts the couple who died childless was regarded as the best neighbours anyone could wish for-liked by all,fair minded ,non sectarian,hard working and it should be said that Peter’s behaviour during these visits did nothing to change that view–if anything it increased it.

    Maybe there is hope for us all.I have long suspected that some members of the DUP are not anywher as extreme in their private lives as their public pronouncements, however with some the reverse is also true.

  • Frank

    Fanny and all the other microcephalics such as the paramilitaries, all the unions are safe – believe it. When the Taigs control NI do you think they will stop milking the British cow – certainly not. Indeed would there be any chance of us getting into the Scottish parliament through our Ulster Scots credentials. We’d be tri-cultural, tri -national, tri – parliamentarian, absolutely on the gravy train. I want all my rights – believe me.

    Incidently does UK mean England Scotland and Wales only, with NI tacked on as a temporary appendage. That would worry be as it could easily be hacked off, and then where would we be.

  • Frank

    Fanny and all the other microcephalics such as the paramilitaries, all the unions are safe – believe it. When the Taigs control NI do you think they will stop milking the British cow – certainly not. Indeed would there be any chance of us getting into the Scottish parliament through our Ulster Scots credentials. We’d be tri-cultural, tri -national, tri – parliamentarian, absolutely on the gravy train. I want all my rights – believe me.

    Incidently does UK mean England Scotland and Wales only, with NI tacked on as a temporary appendage. That would worry be as it could easily be hacked off, and then where would we be.

  • circles

    Once would have been more than enough Frank.
    By the way – who are you referring to when you say “the Taigs”?

  • circles

    Who decides when the unionists are ready? They have to interevne and put a stop to this type of loyal behaviour.
    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/050805/325/foycl.html

  • Mike

    overhere –

    “Poor fanny, actually your not British you are a citizen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Only those born in England, Scotland or Wales can call themselves British.”

    Perhaps you should take a wee look at your passport. Mine says “British citizen”.

  • circles

    Funny – mines an Irish one