Taking a very quick break from holidays. Eilis O’Hanlon thinks that a lot of the critical reaction to the IRA’s statement and, most recently, the return of the Columbia 3 (or one of them at least) has been needlessly hysterical and counterproductive.She believes latest events a distraction for the Republican heartland constituency:
First, they make some sort of vague commitment that gets maximum publicity, then send General John de Chastelain back to Canada empty handed. Soon they’re standing around with placards watching the watchtowers come down in west Belfast and south Armagh. Next they claim that speaking rights in the Dail for Sinn Fein’s Westminster MPs are somehow in the offing. Finally they produce the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with the Colombia Three.
She sees them as:
…morale-boosting stunts to a movement which knows at heart that the game is up. The IRA statement may have been less historic or definitive than it was portrayed by the media, but the IRA still ate dirt that day, hedged about as it may have been with rhetorical provisos and fancy language extolling the struggle.
She’s scathing about the import of such activity:
The IRA didn’t even battle it out honourably for a score draw. They lost, which is why they’re still subjects of Her Majesty the Queen – the ending of which status was the single objective with which they started out – and destined to remain that way for decades and decades, under constant probation, with every descent into criminality only extending their UK residency.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty