We hear a senior Republican has been arrested in connection with a punishment shooting at the weekend in West Belfast – though it has yet to be confirmed officially. The victim of the attack has since lost a limb, but, if the identity of the individual arrested is confirmed, the real significance may lie in its relationship to the proposed deadline of 24th November, since the person arrested appears to be a mainstream, rather than a dissident Republican. In which case, serious questions would certainly then arise.
Update: In this case, it would seem that the person in question is a Republican, but is not a member of the mainstream Republican movement.In which case, these questions do not immediately arise:
Was this ordered from the top in anticipation that the deal of the 24th is off, and with it all other bets? Or was it simply a case of an individual trying to keep a lid on a situation where, under the current terms of negotiations and in the effective absence of a police force, a theoretically gunless IRA no longer has the means to enforce order on local ‘miscreants’?