the more worrying scenario

The eagle-eyed Newshound spotted this report in the Irish Examiner. The latest Country Report on Ireland from The Ecomonist Intelligence Unit includes a warning to businesses on the potential for future political instability. The report by Dan O’Brien, senior europe editor/economist of The EIU, warns that “a central question for the island of Ireland’s political future is whether “the provisional movement Sinn Fein and the IRA” is evolving to become fully democratic or whether its use of democratic means is tactical and designed to achieve undemocratic ends.” and that “It is the view of the Economist Intelligence Unit that the evidence points towards the latter, more worrying scenario.”From Financial Editor Conor Keane’s Irish Examiner report

Mr O’Brien argues that the IRA’s political capability relies heavily on methods incompatible with democratic politics such as surveillance and intelligence-gathering on electoral rivals and the use of cash from organised criminal activities.

“In those parts of Northern Ireland in which it holds sway, it uses violence to enforce its will and physically threatens those who would inform the authorities of its illegal activities.

“While the IRA explicitly committed itself in July 2005 to ending all such activities and to using ‘exclusively democratic means’, it is difficult to envisage an organisation with such a deeply ingrained culture of violence and lawlessness being capable of changing as profoundly as suggested by a recent statement, even if some of the group’s leading figures wish this to happen”.

And that Sinn Féin in Government with Fianna Fáil might seek to prevent Garda investigations into any illegal IRA activities –

“It (Sinn Féin) could also attempt to use its influence over the executive branch of government to prevent any illegal IRA activities being subject to investigation by law enforcement agencies and sanction by the judiciary.

“If this were to happen, it would disrupt the even application of the rule of law and undermine the institutional integrity of the Irish state”

The full report is, unfortunately, behind a substantial subscription barrier, but a summary of the other aspects of the report, relating to the future economic conditions, is available here

  • Padraig

    The British. Irish and American Governments and their Security advisors and services will be disappointed to hear all this, I suspect.
    I wonder if the Economist has any premonitions about life on other planets?

  • Shore Road Resident

    It is certainly pure conjecture – like any prediction of the future. However this week’s various attempts to undermine the Northern Bank investigation, ranging from riots in Kilcoo to front-page splashes in the party’s new daily newspaper, indicates that SF still has big problems with the normal process of examining crimes that The Economist cares about i.e. major bank robberies.
    However much if annoys the lefty wing of Sinn Fein they need to realise that the damage they’ve done themselves with the bank heist is much greater than the damage done by murdering 2,000 people (and I realise this is morally repulsive, but there you go). The people who really make the decisions in today’s globalised world won’t stand for their vaults being raided and they expect action. If they don’t get it, they’ll take their money elsewhere.

  • ODAN

    The Economist once predicted that the election of Harold Wilson’s Labour Government in the early 1960’s would result in “communism by the back door”….

    [Play the ball.. not the man! – edited moderator]

  • Padraig

    Yes , as I said, the Martians are coming. Lock up your daughters.

  • Pete Baker

    To all –

    We have a very straight-forward rule on Slugger.. and that is that you play the ball.. not the man.

    If you can’t adhere to that rule, then go elsewhere.

    In addition, if you’re ascribing opinions or quotes to individuals or publications.. then link to a source where those opinions are stated. Otherwise your own argument will be undermined by its absence.

  • Plum Duff

    ‘In addition, if you’re ascribing opinions or quotes to individuals or publications.. then link to a source where those opinions are stated. Otherwise your own argument will be undermined by its absence.’

    Excellent!! I agree with every word Pete Baker wrote in relation to some of the criticisms launched at Dan O’Brien’s article on the Machiavellian machinations of Sinn Fein. In other words, ‘Back up or shut up – no messin”. Who could disagree?

    It’s therefore more sad and ironic that Mr. O’Brien didn’t follow the same lofty aspirations in his own peculiar interpretation of paranoid conspiracy theories.

  • Padraig

    Thinks, ‘Never mind the article, its in the same league as Goldilocks and the three bears. I know! Lets talk about the Northern Bank Robbery insaed!’

  • Henry94

    One recalls The Economist’s prediction of a property crash in Ireland a few years back. Wrong then and wrong now.

  • lib2016

    Any chance of the Economist telling us how it reached this conclusion?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I find it very difficult to see realistically how a Sinn Fein government would be able to, for example, interfere with a Garda investigation into IRA activity and get away with it. There would be a massive scandal. Would they risk a Supreme Court ruling ?

  • Brian Boru

    Even if some of these claims have any bearing, SF’s core-vote will regard it as just more SF-bashing from the Southern political Establishment, which will solidify their existing vote here.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I find it very difficult to see realistically how a Sinn Fein government would be able to, for example, interfere with a Garda investigation into IRA activity and get away with it.”

    We’ve recently heard very disturbing reports of how the nauseating activities of scores of paedophile priests were covered up from the top levels of the church and quietly ignored by the top levels of government.
    If a subject as indefensible as the rape of children can be swept under the carpet for decades, is a future cover-up of ‘normal’ criminality really that unlikely?

  • Mick Fealty


    Good question, although at a cool $235 per country report, I’m not sure we can afford to interogate the report’s findings in any further detail. Perhaps if the report’s author or a member of his team is reading this thread they might like to contribute?

    It may have been prompted by more generalised concerns over the rise in perceived levels of corruption in the Republic. Although the reading on economic freedom puts it at number five in the world, Transparency International’s Corruption Index has seen it slip from 17th to 19th place this year.

    However, I’m not sure the question is aimed directly over Sinn Fein the political party. So far as I’m aware it’s elected representatives have played a square game in office. In Northern Ireland at least it has also accumulated substantial political talent. On this ground alone, there is no reason to think that it won’t settle into a legitimate two polity future. Indeed, in his thirty year study of regional democracy in Italy, Robert Putnam discovered that the engagement of political ‘extremes’ was a determining factor in the success of that democracy.

    However, if the EIU’s question is not pointed directly at the party, who’s record and conduct is largely in the public domain, it seems to be questioning its relationship with its sister organisation, who’s record is not.

  • Lawrence OBrien

    Dan O’Brien writing in The Economist Intelligence Unit Country Report Ireland is absolutely correct in his evaluation of Sinn Fein that they in governance would most certainly undermine the democratic insitutions of the Sate. Only fools would have anything to do with this terrorist organisation whose sole stock in trade is crime and terrorism.

  • Plum Duff

    With Mark Carruthers interviewing him on Tuesday evening on the BBC Evening Extra show, Mr. O’Brien admitted he got or took all of his information from the latest ICC Report. So now the Economist buys it all and republishes it as an ‘Independent’ think tank report.

  • Mick Fealty

    PD, I take you mean the IMC Report? There is a point to linking to quality reporting. If you think it is flawed, then feel free to demonstrate the flaws. Unfortunately there’s a lot of time being wasted in rabbit punching opponents. I don’t have a brief to protect anyone from legitimate criticism. But neither is this the place for petty point scoring or venting of spleen.

  • Plum Duff

    OK, Mick, sorry about the typo but my main point (which you spiked) arose from Pete Baker’s comment on acknowledging sources which I pasted in an earlier contribution above. Mr O’Brien did not disclose his source (the IMC Report) until questioned *after publication*. He claimed in the BBC interview that his own report was ‘independent’ but then went on to say that his arguments were based solely on the IMC Report. This (O’Brien’s) report, in turn, was then given a front page spread in the Irish Independent with the tag ‘from the Economist’s independent think tank’. Call it petty point scoring if you like, but with regard to the IMC, Dan O’Brien and the Irish Indo, all I hear are clones talking to clones. No spleen, just an opinion.