Two stories in one…

Initial reactions to the IMC report yesterday is mixed. In Australia and the US, there are relatively upbeat accounts of yesterday’s news for the IRA. Today’s Irish Times similarly gives the IRA some encouraging noises (subs needed): As the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) observed in its latest report: the IRA is like an oil tanker. It will take time to turn completely and there will be turbulence in its wake. But the liberal Scottish Herald believes the talks about power are doomed, in the short term at least. In an Irish Times op ed, its Northern editor Gerry Moriarty has worked out a balance sheet:

Here’s what’s written in red: the IRA and/or its members have not decommissioned all their weapons; they are still engaged in intelligence gathering; still running massive smuggling and counterfeiting operations; still money laundering; still amassing a huge financial empire by breaking into the legitimate property and business sector.

And in black: the IRA has indeed end its armed campaign; it is not engaging in sanctioned violence and has no intention of so doing; it is no longer shooting people; it is not training, targeting or recruiting; it is telling its members not to riot; it has stopped robbing banks and post offices; it has closed down some criminal operations.

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

  • seabhac siulach

    The most interesting part of the announcement yesterday was the fact that once again the politicos (Hain, D. Ahern, etc.) were trumpeting the positives, even going so far as to have arranged a convenient counter appraisal of the IRA’s weapons by DeChatelain to contradict the IMC’s findings. Why did they do this? The IIDC was not due to report at this time…
    It strongly suggests a disagreement (at best) between the security agencies (the securocrats in PSNI, MI5) and the politicians. It appears that the securocrats wish to give the most negative assessment possible, while the politicians wish for the most positive assessment possible.
    In this, the special branch of the PSNI, or whoever, is acting as cheerleader for DUP intransigence.
    This all tallies, in fact, with the disagreements that surrounded the leaks of the IMC report last week where Minister Woodward and An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern went head to head against Hugh Orde over the issue of whether the IRA was still engaged in criminality. Orde even contradicted and refuted the statement of Ahern that the IRA was no longer involved in criminality. From the present IMC report can we say that Ahern was wrong? It is all subjective, of course.

    In any case, not much of this matter. The genie is now out of the bottle. There will be more demands for weapons decommissioning, even though the IIDC has said that such weapons do not exist, something backed up by the Gardai (no friends of the provos). So, even more reasons for stalemate. It is time for the politicians to rein in, I would say from the evidence, those obstructive elements within their own intelligence community.

  • fair_deal

    I wish the media would at least try some consistency.

    Statements and acts by the IRA are sold as the big thing then a few months later when it isnt as much as hyped they become sage like “Of course no one said or expected it to all have stopped” “er yes you did in your past analysis”