No Hallelujah Chorus

In the Belfast Telegraph, Sam Smyth raises just two cheers in response to the unfolding choreography –

The Provisionals expect a grateful public to raise a Hallelujah Chorus in praise for the dumping of their weapons. But a sigh of relief is more appropriate for their decommissioning of an enormous arsenal of sophisticated weapons and explosives.

  • Betty Boo

    How much does it really matter that the IRA has decommissioned its weapons or is it just a gesture like the open hand before you shake to show you bear no arms.

    Anyone going on a plane these days knows what not to put in the hand luggage, because it seems that given the opportunity we are highly attempted to ram the wee pair of nail scissors or the bogwood letter opener into the pilots throat, highjack the plan and crash it into specific high rise buildings.

    If we live in a world and we do, where nail scissors and bogwood letter opener are considered viable weapons of warfare, then it would seem more efficient to take a closer look at the cause of this disarray then to attempt to decommission even the most ridiculous of tools.
    As difficult as it may have been for the republican movement to take this step and as magnificent as it may be for NI but does it really matter that one organisation has decommissioned its arms, considering the overall picture?

  • lamh_dearg

    Times change,

    Few people have mentioned it and the (admittedly few) who would have been interested, and whom I have asked, have responded “Really, yawn, surely that was last year’s problem and opportunity and we have moved on to problems new and opportunities less, yawn. They have missed their opportunity to impress”

    seriously underwhelming, I think the RM will be disappointed and not just by the DUP’s response

  • David Vance

    “… enormous arsenal of sophisticated weapons and explosives” that they have been unable to use since 9/11! This isn’t even worth one cheer – let alone two. The IRA is decommissioning that which is effectively already decommissioned and in exchange they expect Unionists to be impressed. Forgeddit!

    Once they’ve disbanded, and desisted from their rampant RAFIA criminality get back to me. In the meantime, it’s just a big nothing.

  • circles

    Of course the whole decommissioning thing was always just a smoke screen thrown up by unionists who didn’t want to talk to anything green, and supported by Major (who needed their help) – so the whole weapons issue took one a far too central role in the whole peace process.
    However I still do see this as an extremely positive move by the RM, and may just provide our poor wee peace process with the kick up the back side that it needs to get going again.

  • circles

    David Vance: I don’t think the IRA expect the unionists to be impressed. The unionists (particularly of the paisley pattern) will refuse to acknowledge that anything has happened, not because they don’t believe it, but because they will not talk to republicans. Even when the weapons issue is solved (on the republican side anyway – we all know the loyalists wepaons issue hasn’t even begun to be addressed), the unionists will throw up another smoke screen and cry and yap til they get what they want (If I were Gerry Adams I’d be worrying about that beard – I think it may be next on Dr No’s wish list).

  • George

    Don’t think they are looking for the chorus of approval, the opposite in fact. The quieter the better.

    Decommissioning as an issue has to go away at this stage and strangely enough it is now unionism which sees the benefit in it as an issue to highlight and the process not being wound up.

    A lot of commentators said last December that the IRA should just go ahead and decommission without photographs regardless of what unionism says as there is no “future” with guns.

    Looks like the IRA has taken this option. So we are at a point where everyone except unionism think the IRA is out of business.

    Now we wait and see if it is really true and after that all that remains to be seen is if SF support for the PSNI comes before the assembly or after it.

  • Brendan Ferron

    Firstly, to try and give Ian Paisley the credit for brining about decommissioning is totally wrong and with out foundation. This is a decision taken by republicans after a long debate which has occupied much time and required a lot of thought and analysis, a good many years in fact. The issue was never if it would happen, we knew it would, but rather when it was prudent to do so and when the destruction of guns which would no longer be used and had been silent for years should be got rid of, it was all about timing. As a member of Sinn Fein in Dublin I would commend the leadership for the manner in which this debate took place and the way members where briefed and allowed give their opinions.
    This decision has been taken at the right time, let’s not forget the IRA said last year that it was a step they were prepared to take, the question I guess is why now, without agreement from Unionists to share power? Sinn Fein and republicans have been leading this process from the start and most if not all of the moves have been unilateral. Hume-Adams, the ceasefires, all came about as a result of republican initiatives because we want the process to work, and have been framed against the background of rejectionist Unionism and their unwillingness to engage.
    But it is also for strategic purposes that these moves have been made, and the leadership have timed them well throughout the process in my opinion. The growth of our party not only in the six counties but also south of the border is testament to this. We remember here in Dublin that up until five years ago we had one councillor in the capital, now we have 14, 2 TD’s, and an MEP. The guns where silent, they where useless, but their destruction will lead to even greater growth, they played a significant part, mabye a greater part than when they where actually in use, and I feel this decision will cement Sinn Fein’s position as the voice of nationalism in the North and probably double our vote and representation in the 26 counties parliament at the next election. The parade on Saturday showed us we have a party which is committed and united in their determination to make this happen.
    In the past republicans have ended campaigns because they where on the brink of defeat, where decimated with regard to membership, and had lost support in the community to sustain the fight. The absolute opposite is the case, the republican movement has not been stronger for a long-time, we have a confident leadership, and the nationalist community have their heads held high. All that has changed in this struggle is that we now believe Sinn Fein can deliver instead of the IRA, we see the party growing while at the same time we see loyalisim and Unionism divided and scrambling to find a place and an identity.
    This will also play so well with governments in Europe, America and around the world, Sinn Fein will be seen as the ones taking risks for peace, the doors will be opened to them in places where they where previously closed and we will have a chance to bring our analysis and demands for reunification to these places and seek support. At the same time this will be juxtaposed against the Unionist position of intrangesince and unwillingness to show the same leadership as Sinn Fein.
    The goals of republicanism are to divide and seriously weaken Unionism, to build political strength and momentum for change, and to create partnerships with external bodies to help unify our country, today we are achieving many of these aims, today Sinn Fein take this step from a position of strength rather than one of weakness.

  • circles

    “The issue was never if it would happen, we knew it would, but rather when it was prudent to do so and when the destruction of guns which would no longer be used and had been silent for years should be got rid of, it was all about timing.”

    As a nordy republican I would have to completely disagree with this assessment Brendan. In the north it was actually not taken as read that the guns would be destroyed, but rather that they would be dumped and allowed to rust away to death. The idea of decommissioning came about when Major was on the ropes and the Unionists had the orange card on hand to bedn thigns their way. If the unionists had not have started harping on about decommissioning as being THE central plank of the peace process (ignoring completely the problems resulting from sectarian segregation of the community – the real problem in my opinion), then it would never have been a big issue. They made it an issue.

    And now someone will make up something else to try and stop progress if they can

  • Henry94

    The problem for Unionism now is the sizable block of Unionist voters who don’t want power sharing at any price. Decommissioning was the big tent and it has just blown away.

  • one voice

    Any chance that UVF/DUP will make a move on Decommissioning? Any chance that Unionists will grow up see the big picture? Any chance that Nigel Dodds will be able to speak with sounding like he’s sucking on fisherman’s friend? Any chance that we will see the assembly operating? Any chance that Peter Hain might sound even slighlty enthusiastic about Northern Ireland? Any bleeding chance we can all live together whilst Van Morrison music plays in the background?

    Answer= Buckleys chance

  • Brian Boru

    “2 TD’s”

    Brendan Ferron, 5 TDs you mean. 🙂