“The mechanism which they have chosen..”

You can take your pick of the coverage of publication of the 19th IMC reportBBC, RTÉ, Irish Times, The Guardian, or Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP. From the report itself [pdf file] Adds More reaction here

2.14 We are aware of the questions posed about the public disbandment of PIRA’s leadership structures. We believe that PIRA has chosen another method of bringing what it describes as its armed struggle to a final close. Under PIRA’s own rules the Army Council was the body that directed its military campaign. Now that that campaign is well and truly over, the Army Council by deliberate choice is no longer operational or functional. This situation has been brought about by a conscious decision to let it fall into disuse rather than through any other mechanism. We now have a context where there are no longer the emotional drivers which caused the IRA to be resurrected in 1969 and the leadership which created and moulded the modern-day PIRA has turned its interest and attention exclusively to politics as the means of furthering its objectives. The mechanism which they have chosen to bring the armed conflict to a complete end has been the standing down of the structures which engaged in the armed campaign and the conscious decision to allow the Army Council to fall into disuse. By taking these steps PIRA has completely relinquished the leadership and other structures appropriate to a time of armed conflict.

Adds Heh. Mark Devenport has some thoughts.

In the meantime, Jim Allister has been pouring scorn on today’s report, which he reckons is full of “Jesuitical verbiage”. With the Stormont Execuitive having failed to convene since mid June, the Traditional Unionist MEP argues that it too is no longer “operational or functional”, yet, he points out, one would hardly deny that it exists.

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  • ulsterfan

    This statement is unsatisfactory for two reasons.
    It talks about bringing its armed struggle to a close. If this is so, the end has not been reached.
    How will we know closure has occurred and how can that be tested?
    PIRA and the Army Council are both illegal organisations and it is not good enough for any Government ,either British or Irish to allow them to “wither and to fall into disuse” at a speed set by them.
    Members are still liable to prosecution simply for being members.
    If they want a fresh start the Army Council must be disbanded.

  • lorraine

    …..and they should be forced to wear sack-cloth and ashes and spend their days repenting and begging the good folk of progressive liberal democratic inclusive unionism for forgiveness. then we’ll seek their ritual suicide just so we know they are gone for good ………..

  • greeneggsandham

    (DUP)The IRA Army Council must disband.

    (IRA AC)We have disbanded!

    (DUP)Prove it!

    ……………..

    (DUP)Prove it I said!

    ……………..

    (DUP)Hello!

    Is there anybody there?

    No! We’ve disbanded and won’t be taking any more calls!

    Slan!

    Hello!

  • DC

    A fossilised stucture, fossilised under the weight of democratic change. The end.

    Now, about these so-called loyalists…

  • PJM

    It seems clear that the IMC is saying, however politely, that the existence of the Army Council is a red herring. Sections 2.11-2.13 conclude that:
    1) PIRA is set on a political path and poses no ‘threat to peace or to democratic politics’.
    2) The PIRA organisation ‘is being allowed to wither away’ but will not make any formal announcements to this effect.
    3) ‘the PIRA of the recent and violent past is well beyond recall.’ and will not re-erge.

    Unionists may choose to insist on the formal abolition of particular structures but this would be a failure to recognise the enormous victory they have won.

    As to Ulsterfan’s issue of the illegality of the PIRA and the AC this is a somewhat circular argument; they were made illegal because they posed a threat. If they cease to do so there is no need to ban them – though it remains a useful lever to ensure they complete their transition.

  • Dec

    Ulsterfan

    The key phrase for me is

    Now that that campaign is well and truly over, the Army Council by deliberate choice is no longer operational or functional.

    Given that, I’d be interested in how you propose ‘disbanding’ the non-operational and non-functional army council to your satisfaction.

  • Half Pint

    “Consistent with this strategy, significant numbers of PIRA members, including senior ones, have, at the behest of the leadership, moved to political roles in Sinn Féin.”

    It’s official – gunmen in government. O what a wonderful new N.I!

  • Over Here

    “Now, about these so-called loyalists” LOL your having a laugh DC, listen to the silence you could almost think you had gone deaf

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    If Robbo needs the army council to publically and explicitly disappear to give him political cover
    to move on Police and Justice then SF should oblige.

  • Quagmire

    It’s official – gunmen in government. O what a wonderful new N.I!
    Posted by Half Pint on Sep 03, 2008 @ 03:36 PM

    Are you referring to Peter Robinson and his raspberry beret? If so then I concur with your statement. It makes me sick to see this man in government!

  • ulsterfan

    As long as the Army council exists it has the potential to direct operations whether they are of a political nature or military. The fact they are no longer involved in or directing military matters is beside the point.
    They could assume that role any time in the future.
    If on the other hand they were disbanded they lose that capability.
    Robinson seems to be saying the same thing and he is right to hold out for more movement.

  • Half Pint

    Quagmire,
    I share you disgust at seeing Robo in government but I was think of people who were more serious about guns and berets. People you can see pictures of with paramilitaries and think – yes, that guy really is serious about topping someone. Robo in a beret is more likely to engender laughter.

  • Dec

    As long as the Army council exists it has the potential to direct operations whether they are of a political nature or military. The fact they are no longer involved in or directing military matters is beside the point.

    So you’re objecting to ‘political operations’ now?

    cue grinding sound of goalposts being moved

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Can this get any more embarrassing for IRA/Sinn Fein? We had Tony Blair redrafting an IRA document in 2003 and now we have Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward clarifying PIRA’s strategy for the Army Council.

  • Big Bird

    Replace words “army council”, with “executive council”, or whatever other name that political parties have for their management board, and hey presto!!… or do we still have a problem.

  • waffler

    It appears the lying leadership of sinn fein has caught up with the party ( and the parties over)
    Adams wants to collapse all before him, raise his hands and admit to the grass roots they were truly suckered. Whilst mc guiness is adamant that the status quo be invoked naively believing the grass roots are really sheep who can’t define spin from sinn.
    Brian Feeney has said from the beginning of this puppet government that it will come down to who’s the real boss in the republican treason game.
    Time to start selling tickets.
    The truth is that spin fein are on the verge of imploding with many Johnny come latelys of the belief the party can not deliver on very many of the promises dished out at extraordinary ardhess etc.
    With many now discussing behind the scenes that to make the best of a bad job the stale leadership has well and truly passed its sell by date and should now be replaced with fresh blood not tagged with past events.
    Obviously the present leadership had help from the brits to ensure the leadership they wanted stayed in place.
    Not so easy for the leadership now as by the nature of democratic politics they have a massive problem on how to deal with Transparency and accountability.
    The saddest fact of all is that it appears they will get away without being held accountable to the many republicans who want answers to what really went on during their 20+ years in control of the army.
    Held up by the sheer number of people who apear to have come upon wealth without working a day for it.

  • Dev

    Ulsterfan:

    As long as the Army council exists it has the potential to direct operations whether they are of a political nature or military. The fact they are no longer involved in or directing military matters is beside the point.
    They could assume that role any time in the future.
    If on the other hand they were disbanded they lose that capability.

    Righty-o, Newton Emerson was on PM on R4 earlier and made a good point on this, he basically said that, as the AC was made up of around 7 men who had known each other for several decades & who probabaly see each other on a social basis quite frequently, how exactly are they to be disbanded?

    Say SF & the Provos realise a statement saying the AC is no more, if they decide to reverse that decision all they have to do is meet up again, a statement saying they have disbanded has precisely no value. In fact, they could just say they disbanded but continue to meet under the pretence that they are, oh I don’t know, just going down to the pub for a pint or attending a SF meeting, you would never know.

    In essence, the only way the AC can be disbanded so that they can never start up again is by all of them dying. I fail to see how the AC saying it has disbanded would in anyway cause the loss of capability Ulsterfan talks of.

  • anne warren

    The STA was signed.

    In signing any legally binding agreement all parties to it are considered bound to honour it. Otherwise there are penalties, court cases and so on.

    What’s the hold-up to impementing all provisions of the STA?
    Is it not legally binding?
    Is it another example of “Loyalists being loyal”, such as have regularly occurred since the 19th century?
    Is it some inability to comprehend what being British/European/ human in the 21st century means?
    If so, I suggest interested parties have a look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed almost 60 years ago (December 10, 1948) by the General Assembly of the United Nations. It starts off like this:

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

    Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

    http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

  • Out of interest is the PIRA still an illegal organization? If not then these demands of the DUP seem pretty silly.

    if the answer is yes, then after this report the question to be asked is why so?

  • Rory

    I’m sure that some proof of the Army Council’s disbandment* that is satisfactory to Peter Robinson will shortly be forthcoming, possibly in the form of photographic evidence. A dated and timed photograph of an empty meeting room in a border hotel, discarded copies of the the Belfast Telegraph, Republican News and Property Investor’s Weekly lying upon an unattended table should suffice but maybe could be reinforced with an accompanying statement of the order of:

    We are not the Army Council anymore. Signed…..

    p.s. There is no one here to sign at the moment as we have all disbanded.

    p.p.s. Any jobs going in policing?”

    After that P&J;and the Maze redevelopment and the Irish Language forgotten agreements can all be remembered again.

    *I had first typed “dissolution” but that rather smacked of booze and cocaine and orgies and ..er, smack and age has already weakened me kneecaps enough without taking any further health risks.

  • Half Pint

    “Out of interest is the PIRA still an illegal organization?”
    Yes
    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/security/terrorism-and-the-law/terrorism-act/proscribed-groups
    “if the answer is yes, then after this report the question to be asked is why so?”

    Because it butchered people for thirty years and still does it the odd time (Paul Quinn). Most of these people still haven’t faced justice.

    Secondly, the IRA is used to cover other so-called splinter groups which use supposedly decommissioned IRA weapons (like semtex).

  • Pancho’s Horse

    The incredible thing is that Peter Robinson is prepared to take the word of the Republican Movement that it’s leadership has disbanded. Not the British government, not the IMC but the implacable enemies in the IRA.

  • ulsterfan

    Adams talked about a blank photograph to prove disbandment.
    What a clever, silly remark from a political leader unless of course the British government instruct him to show in the background all the arms surrendered by PIRA.
    McGuiness standing beside him looked embarrassed.
    That might be a good idea and show to unionists that PIRA really have gone away!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Adams talked about a blank photograph to prove disbandment.
    What a clever, silly remark from a political leader “[/i]

    Don’t expect anything less from the war criminal as his Marxist dream collapses around him. He’s showing all the defensive signs of a man who’s failed politically and militarily to drive us British into the sea.

  • cynic

    “Adams talked about a blank photograph to prove disbandment.”

    ….and didnt he look facile and foolish. Out of his depth.

  • cynic

    But the bottom line from the IMC report is quite clear.

    They have gone away you know. They are a dead parrot. Gone. No longer exist. Have ceased to be.

    Whatever way you want to phrase it, they have ceased to exist for any practical or other purpose. Short of lining them up against a wall and shooting them all on camera it’s hard to find a more definitive statement to express it. The war is over and they lost.

    Unionists really need to accept this now (joyfully!) and let’s all get on with life. That doesnt mean that SF should just get all of their wish list, but normal politics should now prevail.

  • cynic

    “The STA was signed.

    In signing any legally binding agreement all parties to it are considered bound to honour it. Otherwise there are penalties, court cases and so on.”

    Anne

    See earlier posts. The problem is that the ‘agreement’ was an agreement to aspire to deliver and not a definitive agreement to deliver. It was all conditional on matters to be sorted out by negotiation and that hasn’t happened …. yet.

    The problem is that this was then oversold by SF

  • cynic

    “yet, he points out, one would hardly deny that it exists”

    What does that phrase actually mean?

    Any human organisation is composed of people and only takes life when they gather together. What IMC said today, and what Lord Alderdice was esepcially firm on, was they havent been meeting as an Army Council and have no intention of doing do, though they may meet up socially in various combinations from time to time. So the reality is that the Army Council doesnt exist any more.

    What will the Tuvvers do now for a bogeyman?

  • Dewi

    “Jesuitical verbiage” For the non-theologians amongst us what does that mean ?