I have mentioned the DUP reaction to the IMC report previously. I am, however, a little surprised that all that we have had has been Gregory Campbells statement last Thursday. Clearly there has been a bank holiday but I did expect additional coverage from them by now. The DUP may feel that after this statement, keeping their collective heads down is the best idea. Again it is not for me to advise the DUP on tactics but I do feel this is a flawed plan.Whatever the IMC say, I suspect the overwhelming majority of unionists (and maybe many nationalists?) will regard the Quinn murder as the work of the IRA. The niceties of corporate responsibility etc. will be seen by many as rather poor whitewash. Even if by some chance the murder was not by the IRA; I have absolutely no doubt that the general unionist perception is that it was. Hence, to keep relatively quiet on the issue may well be a mistake. It will produce the perception that the DUP are holding back on going after republicans as they used to do. In this I suspect their inaction will undo some of the positive benefits they have reaped from abandoning the chuckle coalition.
I would have thought at the very least the DUP would have used this murder as a further reason to delay the devolution of policing and justice, possibly for months or even years. I do feel that the initial minimisation of this issue with Donaldson talking about the IRA possibly not being corporately responsible and Robinson saying the murder was not centrally ordered was a political error and the latest statement, logical conclusion as it may be from the previous comments is again an error.
The DUP appear to be in danger of being locked into doing very little about a crime that very many regard as an IRA crime. Even if the DUP come up with a more significant response later it will look, several days after the IMC report, as if they are scrambling to make up for misreading the unionist communitys perception of this event. Either way I feel this is a further example of the DUP misreading grass roots unionist opinion. I also suspect that many in the nationalist / republican community are utterly fed up with all IRA violence. Unionists would do well to remember that the majority of nationalists were opposed to terrorism throughout the troubles and as such many may be no happier about brushing this murders consequences under the carpet than many unionists.
Most people on all sides of the community may not want to collapse the executive over this killing but I do not think that the DUP are helping themselves with their current reaction. Pressure from any quarter which could result in reducing and eventually ending the reign of fear which paramilitaries of both sides have over certain parts of Northern Ireland might well be welcomed in quarters.
Then again of course I am opposed to the whole agreement on multiple different levels so maybe it is me misreading what unionists think and I have never claimed to be able to say what nationalists think.