Peter Robinson has just said in the Commons, (precise quotes below):
Everyone will welcome progress. Indeed [refers to mortality rate of one year in the early 70s] only a fool would say anything other than there has been very significant progress. But there is still progress to be made. It’s no good picking up on the parts of the IMC report where there has been progress, and focusing on that. There are grey areas that need to be dealt with. I hope the government will be putting it up to the IRA to finish the course and not simply allowing them to fall back into marking time.
we can acknowledge that there has been progress, although as the hon. Member for South Staffordshire said, there is still progress to be made. We cannot simply take the parts of the IMC report that say this or that is better without also considering the untied things that need to be tied down—the grey areas that must be dealt with—so it is essential that the Government do not send out a signal to terrorist organisations saying, “You’ve really done enough”. The message must be clear: there is more to do.
If the process is working, let us continue with the strategy that it is up to the IRA to finish the course. My colleagues and I deserve considerable credit for the strategy that we proposed, because the previous one was to bring in the IRA and to allow its members to have their cake and eat it. That is exactly what they did; they had their cake and they are still eating it. When the Minister responds to the debate, I hope that he will express greater urgency about the IRA finishing the course, rather than marking time as it is doing at present.
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