More pre-empting of the response to the IMC report, this time from the Irish government minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, as reported by Dan Keenan and Jamie Smyth in the Irish Times[subs req] – “You can’t expect that when you turn on a light that everything will be rosy in the garden. It would be naive to think that you can do that after 35 years of violence.” Also in the report, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claims he hasn’t seen the IMC report, but that It would be “unfair to focus” on any specific finding on this issue at the the expense of an overall finding of significant progess.
The article begins by noting the pre-empting of the IMC report by the Irish Government… and by Sinn Féin –
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has played down the importance of any finding in the Independent Monitoring Commission report to be published tomorrow that the IRA is still involved in criminality.
Sinn Féin has stepped up its condemnation of the IMC ahead of its eighth report into paramilitary activity and criminality.The party claimed the ceasefire watchdog’s membership and reports were “politically loaded, discriminatory” and worked “to subvert the democratic rights of the electorate”.
Other interesting points to note in the article –
“Asked to clarify what level of IRA criminality was acceptable, Mr [Dermot] Ahern said criminality that was not aligned with the political process, and not in any way connected to the ideals of the IRA, was a matter for the security forces to deal with.
and from the Taoiseach –
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he had not seen the IMC report, but that he hoped it “will show that incrementally we’ve made progress across all areas since the last report in September.” In relation to the issue of criminality, he said it was “more difficult” but in that things were “not as clear cut” because it was more difficult to establish whether those involved were still in the republican movement or acting on orders.
Tt would be “unfair to focus” on any specific finding on this issue at the the expense of an overall finding of significant progess. “From a Governmentt point of view we’re not happy that anything at any level happens,” he said. However, the Government was “sensible to know” that getting all activity to cease was part of a process, and that it would be very hard for the republican leadership to get all activities to cease immediately.They hoped to “move into intensive talks with the parties next week and then try to build on that up to the April period where we want to get substantive movement”
It remains, then, in the government’s eyes, a question of trust..
And, just to remind everyone, the doctrine of plausible deniability has been mentioned here before..