Tom Kelly welcomes the outing of various spy networks, whether it be British or the IRA’s. Though he goes on to argue that it reveals the fact that the British government has ‘no principled plan for restoring devolution’. In effect he is accusing the British Government of a form of ‘insider dealing’, in which only the partial interests of Sinn Fein and the IRA are served specifically at the expense of all other parties in Northern Ireland.
How in all seriousness can an illegal organisation which over 30 years has built up a multi-million pound business through fuel and cigarette smuggling; counterfeit goods, racketeering and protection disappear in four months? If they have been able to completely privatise their entire operations in such a short period of time, the government should second the leadership of the Provisional movement to the Strategic Investment Board to oversee the implementation of its £16-billion investment strategy for Northern Ireland.
If the government think that by a series of shabby back door deals they can create political stability in the north then they are gravely mistaken. Yet they don’t seem to be learning from their mistakes. The OTR legislation will either be culled or dramatically changed. The recent pronouncement by the NI Human Rights Commission on the offensiveness of the OTR legislation is a welcome intervention but will be of cold comfort to the government. This group of ministers are using both carrot and stick measures to lead us into devolved government but the public is showing little appetite for the prize. However, we are where we are because people chose two parties that require these types of partisan trade-offs.
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