Eilis O’Hanlon is sceptical of current government strategy. In particular:
…the ongoing attempt to detach the activities of individual members of the IRA from the IRA itself. And because it is practically impossible to prove that individual operations were ever sanctioned directly by the Army Council, it is always feasible to cast each crime committed as a private rather than a collective act. That is why Northern Secretary Peter Hain was so eager to stress that there may be “localised individual criminality by former and maybe existing members of Provisional IRA” but that this was not “organised from the centre criminality”.
The problem with this approach is that it flies in the face of recent history. Republicans are proud of the united way in which they faced change. From ending “military” operations to decommissioning to disbandment, they stayed together. Splits were minimised. Iron discipline was maintained. But suddenly we are being asked to accept that, after staying united in the face of such fundamental ideological issues as the right of republicans to bear arms, this remarkable discipline has evaporated in months over nothing more than money.
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