The IRA has gone away, you know…

Gerry Moriarty reports that whilst there are some important caveats to the IMC report and the IRA can only expect to collect on the benefits (subs needed) of its “mostly justified positive British-Irish governmental spin” if its followed by a second positive report in October. But in the meantime the important questions now shift onto the capacity of the DUP to do a deal.

A maxim of this long-running peace process is that it is for Bertie Ahern to deliver the IRA through Gerry Adams and for Tony Blair to deliver the DUP through Ian Paisley. With the IRA decommissioning and declaring an end to its “armed campaign” last year and now with this “most significant” IMC paper to date, it is clear the Taoiseach is fulfilling his part of the contract. But Tony Blair’s attempt to bring the highly unpredictable DUP leader aboard the power-sharing train is proving a tricky business.

There are still many pundits who insist the Doc will “never, never, never” treat with Sinn Féin, regardless of how much the IRA eschews violence and criminality. But senior British government people reply that no, this is not the case: that Dr Paisley is deliverable, that DUP MPs travelling to Killarney and Peter Robinson talking about a settlement that meets the demands of “Planter and Gael” isn’t just for show.

But the DUP still requires considerable coaxing. And that was why Mr Blair – who, with John Prescott and some of his other under-achieving cabinet colleagues, must have many pressing matters to concern him – took considerable time out yesterday to provide interviews to the BBC, UTV and RTÉ to stress the importance of this IMC document.

Given that it seems to have been Sinn Fein which drew the line under the negotiations back in December 2004. The focus and sticking point then was the price for decommissioning – visibility. Now that decomm is more or less done, there is nothing substantial holding back the parties from finally consumating a deal.

Provided there are no more skeletons lurking in the cupboard, Danny Morrison may yet have to eat that metaphorical hat!


  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, wasn’t the deal made with just PIRA…the provisionals? Well, anyway, I think a very flawed concept of all this is….the belief that “Nothing substantial hoding back the parties (sinn fein and dup) from finally consumating a deal” When will some people realize that the DUP reason for being is NOT to do a deal with sinn fein/IRA….and do everything within it’s power to keep the monarch protestant, to keep the orange order marching in Catholic neighborhoods and to keep the north part of the UK….and the dup is doing and working their program excellently.

  • Pete Baker

    While I usually find Gerry Moriarty’s arguments convincing, this seems more speculative than normal – and the praise for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is a little off-key.

    But, apart from the no longer leadership-run emphasis, assuming he’s right about the complex assessments of where responibility lies for the activities, I don’t think he’s really got to grips with the, quite major, caveat –

    And while the IMC says the leadership is trying to wean its more recalcitrant members away from criminality it also refers to the IRA looking “to the long-term exploitation of discreetly laundered assets which were previously gained illegally”. Asked were these assets being used to support Sinn Féin, IMC chairman Lord Alderdice would say only: “We are talking about the republican movement… we are monitoring that… we are not in a position to say anything further about that.”

    Dr Paisley in his response yesterday laid some stress on this element of the report. If that is still a loose end, so to speak, in October will he be satisfied to leave this issue to the Garda, PSNI, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Assets Recovery Agency in the North?

    I’d suggest the answer to that ties in with resolving the policing paradox I noted yesterday.

  • Ian Paisley

    Kathy C “and the dup is doing and working their program excellently.”, I would just like to say thank you very much Kathy for your support of the DUP. We promised the people of Ulster years ago we would smash SF/IRA snd today we have delivered that promise. Sinn Fein are now administrating British Rule in this part of the UK and their weapons have been decommissioned. We can all now live together safe in the knowledge that the Union is safer than it has been ever.

  • heck

    I don’t think it will happen and I have voted (more than once!) in the slugger poll that local government will never be restored. I have argued that the problem with Nor Iron is that unionists refuse to see their nationalist neighbours as equals.

    But I will be glad if I am proven wrong. The thought of Ian Paisley as first minister and Gerry Adams as DFM would be worth moving back to Nor Iron for.

    Having put that out as the “I have a dream” moment, maybe the DUP are’nt that bad. I met Sammy Wilson once at an Oxford Union debate in the early 80’s and he actually seemed to be a reasonable person–apart from the fact that he did’nt drink.

    If I’m proven wrong I will buy danny morrison the hat.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well guys, Ian’s contribution is probably as near you are going to get to evidence that the DUP is now well within its comfort zone.

    “We promised the people of Ulster years ago we would smash SF/IRA snd today we have delivered that promise.”
    “We can all now live together safe in the knowledge that the Union is safer than it has been ever.”
    I wouldn’t be too sure about that!
    Sinn fein had only a few votes prior to 1969, look at the last few elections. Prior to 1969 the nationalists had maybe one or no seats at Westminster, now they’ve got 8 out of 18 and Irish nationalism is growing each election especially since the 1994 cease fires.
    I see a strong confident nationalism in the North, added to a great sense of the nation through GAA and the huge numbers taking out Irish passports.

    Slowly but surely the wrongs of partition will be undone and the gerrymander of 1920 will be seen in years to come as the historical anomaly of Ireland’s 20th century.

  • ingram


    Maybe BUT you or I will not see it .


  • Comrade Stalin


    When I initially saw the post signed Paisley I thought it was a joke, but now I’m not sure. Can you confirm authenticity ? I guess it’s Jnr ?

  • Mick Fealty

    That would be my guess too. But I don’t run ID checks on people who play well inside the Slugger comment guideline. And ‘Ian’ surely has.

  • slug


    “The thought of Ian Paisley as first minister and Gerry Adams as DFM would be worth moving back to Nor Iron for.”

    Are you sure you are feeling quite well today, heck?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick, understood, and indeed agreed.

    To the substance, Ian’s comments remind me of when I told the Russian people in 1941 that a German invasion was impossible. There are deep cracks forming in the union, and Sinn Fein aren’t administering British rule in NI at all – the DUP won’t let them.

  • Donnacha

    Not sure if Ian really is Ian. His e-mail address links to some American site that is strangely disinterested in the union, the protestantism of the monarch or marching through cert5ain areas of the six counties while dressed like one of the Mr Men.

  • heck


    you must admit such a scenario would be a wonder to behold. It would we just short of the second comming and you would be able to tell you grand childern about it.

  • GPJ

    RE: Paisley

    What happened to Smash Sinn Fein? Surely the politics of the DUP have failed miserably as the party now stands to be in a bigger position of influence in ireland then ever in the DUP’s history.

    The DUP may have the biggest vote among the unionist minority ( U.K and Ireland ), but as de Klerk saw in 1991 having absolute positions on inequality just means that the end is swifter.

    I am looking forward to the DUP becomong the Ulster People’s Party in a federal 32 county Ireland. See you there Ian jnr.

  • Rubicon

    It has always fascinated me how squabbles within unionism have distracted them from the very considerable gains they’ve made. It’s good to hear the DUP recognising positive developments but I’m sure it’ll not be long before they’re taking flak internally – and from the UUP.

    You rarely hear unionists (of whatever hue) pointing to the removal of Articles 2 & 3 and that the future constitutional status of NI will be determined by the people of NI. Since the referendum endorsing the GFA accusations of NI being a gerrymander were signed off to be a historic relic.

    In anyone’s language these were very significant gains from nationalists north and south. The return nationalists were supposed to get for these concession was power-sharing but this is being denied – for good reason since a crucial component of the GFA had not been delivered.

    The excuse of PIRA is no longer there – so why the delay? The IMC point to “the long-term exploitation of discreetly laundered assets which were previously gained illegally”. I very much doubt the CAB or the ARA will make much of an inroad on these – the trail is surely too long. They too are a relic of the past.

    The ball seems to be firmly in the DUP court. They recognise that they’ve done well but where do they now go? With over 30 years opposing power-sharing their core support is going to take a lot of convincing. Much more than “consultation” is involved. Failing to make the jump weakens their lead position within unionism and facilitates SF growth across Ireland.

    Can the DUP do the required ‘convincing’ before November 24th? I doubt it – but it might by May 2008 – if they make the jump.

  • Pete Baker

    Rubicon [not exclusively though]

    If I may suggest.. why not stop assessing it as a ‘them and us’ scenario for a while.. and then decide what’s the best way forward..

  • Rubicon

    OK Pete – fair point.

    I believe the best way forward is to see the return of devolution and politicians engaging with health, economic, health, education issues etc. There may then be some substance to discussions not involving “them” and “us” and (here’s a thought of crazy optimism) perhaps in time we’ll have political parties formed on policy differences that matter to people.

    It’s a very long way off though; the devolution experiment is on the precipice of destruction.

    If that happens I think the historians may see it as a “them” and “us” problem.

    If it does happen the relevance of unionism and nationalism to political party formations should diminish – but it won’t for a long time since the GFA requires an enforced coalition that dilutes the role of parliament, it requires parallel consent for the appointment of the First & Deputy First Ministers and cross-community voting for the passage of legislation.

    We’re so far away from seeing an end to the relevance of “them” and “us” it’s depressing – but perhaps it’s a legacy we don’t need to pass on to the next generation. Devolution seems to be the only game in town where this might happen.

  • Conor Gillespie

    “the protestantism of the monarch or marching through cert5ain areas of the six counties while dressed like one of the Mr Men.”

    LMAO! Just out of curiosity, which particular Mr. Men do you think correspond with the following Orangies?

    1) Nigel Dodds
    2) Jeffrey Donaldson
    3) David Trimble
    4) And of Course, the now resigned Ian Paisley

  • Henry94

    The question is how many unionist voters are opposed to power-sharing in all circumstances. 10%? 20%?

    If those voters abandon the DUP for a more extreme grouping or stay at home Sinn Fein could well become the biggest party in the Assembly.

    That is something to look forward to.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    The IRA may have gone away, but the loyalist gangs are still very much here. The most alarming thing i found in this report is the fact that republicans were responsible for two shootings since the last report (two too many) butloyalist groups carried out 36 such attacks.

    I think its time for the DUP to face up to the reality and start sorting its own camp out.

  • lib2016


    The elections have been postponed for a year since the DUP have realised that they face the choice of powersharing which will cause a split in unionism or being blamed for further Direct Rule which will also split unionism.

    Nationalists can bite the pillow and accept Paisley or whoever as First Minister in order to have Sinn Fein in government. Unionists will have to do likewise but like St. Augustus becoming virtuous, not yet.

  • GBJ
    “I am looking forward to the DUP becomong the Ulster People’s Party in a federal 32 county Ireland. See you there Ian jnr.”
    My thoughts exactly, I think the DUP will agree to disband and agree to a united ireland conditional upon SF disbanding. That way neither will get their grubby hands on the trophy.
    This is what I see in my crystal ball post Nov 24th. It might be a 100/1 shot but I’ll stick a punt on it, sorry I mean a Euro on it.

  • Joe

    The well planned SF endgame is very close.
    Either the DUP swallow the hook line and sinker on Nov 23rd and lose a lot of their neanderthal like supporters or they walk away, giving the ROI a greater say in th governance of N.I.
    Talk about painting yourself into a corner!

  • Joe

    “The Times They Are A-Changin'”

    Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin’
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’.

  • Henry94

    Everybody must get stoned!

  • Joe

    Indeed henry94

    And let him that is without sin cast the first one….

  • Joe

    The reason for fighting
    I never did get
    But I learned to accept it
    Accept it with pride
    For you don’t count the dead
    When God’s on your side.

  • andy

    Didn’t Dylan nab the tune from “The Patriot Game” for tha above little ditty?

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    everyone else is singing, so what the hell;

    my lovely horse running through the……field……


    Faithful departed, look what you started…..

  • Joe

    Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died ?
    The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

  • Joe

    Droch Bhuachaill

    “The Only Thing Worse Than Beating A Dead Horse Is Betting On One”

    Just listen to the politician
    wishing his position wasn’t missing
    everything his heart would like to say
    and a constant in the constitution
    is that there can’t be one solution
    it’d be so far from the truth
    and we would hate it anyway
    opinions are immunity to being told
    you’re wrong paper, rock, and scissors
    they all have their pros and cons

    and all of us we will endure
    just like we always have
    but you just can’t be too sure
    how long this will last

    cause we control the chaos
    in the back of our minds
    our problems seem so small
    but they grow on us like gravity
    but gravity makes us fall

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes
    Not need, just feed the war cannibal animal
    I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a library
    Line up to tha mind cemetary now
    What we don’t know keeps tha contracts alive an movin’
    They don’t gotta burn tha books they just remove ’em
    While arms warehouses fill as quick as tha cells
    Rally round tha family, pockets full of shells

  • Joe

    Who will save the war child baby?
    Who controls the key?
    The web we weave is thick and sordid,
    Fine by me.

    At times of war we’re all the losers,
    There’s no victory.
    We shoot to kill and kill your lover,
    Fine by me.

    War child, victim of political pride.
    Plant the seed, territorial greed.
    Mind the war child,
    We should mind the war child.

    War child, victim of political pride.
    Plant the seed, territorial greed.
    Mind the war child,
    We should mind the war child.

    Who’s the loser now? Who’s the loser now?
    We’re all the losers now. We’re all the losers now.

  • the big man

    let me just say a few words on this matter. the nationalist hysteria from some posters is quite funny, believing that a united ireland is around the corner. i dare say that most of these nationalists voted for the gfa, in effect the stupid bastards sold themselves short, without realising it they have effectively enshrined the unionist veto in ireland in international legislation. and to those i must say thanks. the only way you will realistically see a united ireland is to presuade loyalists like me to vote for a ui. so im ready, you can all get on your knees and start begging. here boy….fetch !! lol

  • Rubicon

    TBM – what’s big about you?

    Your post is beneath contempt and the days of “go fetch” … well – is it worth a reply?

    No. Your eloquence can’t be matched!

    You’ve explained your position in terms I truly understand. Lemmings follow the arse in front when they go over the cliff!

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,
    Hey Ian ….I know you’re not really the reverend ian paisly…and how do I know….ahhh- you wouldn’t be talking to me who you consider a dirty papist who is working to have the royal monarch…the monarch you love so much…be able to be a Catholic…ahhh…when the british monarch is Catholic…and goes to communion on sundays…won’t that be a grand thing to see, Ian?
    Anyway, when I stated “The dup is working their program excellently,” I was not showing support for the dup…just observing they have a game plan and they are playing it well.
    Have any of you concidered the possiblity that unification can happen and not have sinn fein the driver of the train…it can be led by those in the Republic….or it can be led by the brits wanting to dump the north and ian….Unification of Ireland is not contingent soley on sinn fein. They do not hold all the unification cards in the game as they think they do.

  • kathy_d

    kathy_c what is your obsession with making the british monarchy catholic ???? wont it be great when the pope’s a prod and goes to the 12th july.

    seriously kathy why dont u concentrate on better things like helping america to secure a black president?

  • John

    What about that catholic girl Prince William is dating? If there’s a mariage and a son, what then? Hehehehe.
    Cats and pidgeons.
    Hoo Hoo.

  • g

    Sincerely, I don’t think the SF/IRA is going to completely go away. This is what my heart tells me. I wish for peace for everyone though.