IRA: good leadership, with some poor members…

If this report on the IMC website, is the one planned for tomorrow, it looks like we can bring you tomorrow’s news tonight! The crucial question is the conduct of the IRA. Broadly it finds that although individual members of the IRA have been involved in criminality, “…the PIRA leadership has committed itself to following a peaceful path. It is working to bring the whole organisation fully along with it and has expended considerable effort [my emphasis] to refocus the movement in support of its objective. In the last three months this process has involved the further dismantling of PIRA as a military structure”. The report covers the period from 1 September 2005 to 28 February 2006, adds to and updates the Eighth Report of February 2006, which was focused on the months of September, October and November 2005. It goes on to state that “this clear strategic will is of fundamental importance and underpins everything else that we say about PIRA below”.

It notes

“that where members of PIRA had engaged in acts of violence this appeared to be contrary to the instructions of the leadership and that certain PIRA units were closing down criminal operations, although some members were still involved in serious organised crime”.

And:

We are not aware of current terrorist, paramilitary or violent activity sanctioned by the leadership. We have had no indications in the last three months of training, engineering activity, recent recruitment or targeting for the purposes of attack. There has now been a substantial erosion in PIRA’s capacity to return to a military campaign without a significant period of build-up, which in any event we do not believe they have any intentions of doing.

It touches on the trouble in Ballymurphy following the murder of Gerard Devlin. It notes that whilst it has no information of instances of IRA members being involved in paramilitary shootings or assaults, it does have information on:

…instances of PIRA members being involved in assaults or other violence, largely arising from personal or local disputes. There is nothing to suggest that these individuals were involved in these actions either at the behest of the organisation or in their capacity as members of it. In some of these cases the PIRA leadership has investigated the incidents though we cannot say what if any action it may have taken. Following the murder of Gerard Devlin in Belfast in February we believe that the organisation sought to defuse the tensions and that despite popular pressure it declined to take violent action. We think nevertheless that PIRA did seek to secure the departure from the area of one of the families involved in the dispute but did not sanction the use of violence [my emphasis].

This shades it just into the safe side. The conditions being adhered to by the IRA, are extremely tight in comparison to those of the Loyalist paramilitaries who caused 95% of the casualties of shootings and 76% of the casualties of assaults during the period under scrutiny

More later…

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