“the symbol is almost as important as the substance..”

The Guardian’s Henry McDonald on the competing interests behind the ‘are they/aren’t they’ question of the Provisional IRA army council that the IMC report attempted to resolve.

The trouble with Northern Ireland politics is that the symbol is almost as important as the substance, if not more so. Unionists such as Peter Robinson need the symbol of the army council’s dissolution to convince supporters they are not selling out. Conversely, the men who run an IRA that is no longer active do not want their members to perceive disbandment of the body once believed to be the true government of Ireland as being a humiliating defeat.

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  • rabelais

    Two intellectual and politically exhausted groups struggling over a small blanket, trying to conceal their mutual nakedness

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Robbo:Police and Justice for the Army Council ?
    Grizzly:Yeah sure – something for nothing.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Impressive analysis but why he dragged in Iraq, Blair and the neo-cons is beyond me: “a small clique of men decided on life and death matters over millions”.

  • lorraine

    the government authority angle arose from the dissolution of the First Dail which invested their authority in the Army Council until the Republic was secured.

    intransigent unionists have consistently wanted symbolism over substance and unless they wake up and get accustomed to real politics the sinners will sleep walk them into a united ireland.

  • percy

    IRA no threat says prime minister
    Top story BBC News 10’clock

  • ??

    sinners will sleep walk them into a united ireland.
    Posted by lorraine on Sep 03, 2008 @ 09:17 PM

    ——————————-

    Yeah like we havent heard that one before

  • Tazia Doll

    “Impressive analysis but why he dragged in Iraq, Blair and the neo-cons is beyond me: “a small clique of men decided on life and death matters over millions”. ”

    Was the article revised or did that just allude to the Blair/Bush thing?

  • Tazia Doll

    “the government authority angle arose from the dissolution of the First Dail which invested their authority in the Army Council until the Republic was secured”

    The treaty was probably officially endorsed in Britis terms by the House of Commons, of the Southern Irish Parliament. That would have been a unanimous vote, the Unionists would have had no reason to avoid it.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Tazia Doll …………eh?

  • fair_deal

    lorraine

    “the government authority angle arose from the dissolution of the First Dail”

    The Second Dail surely?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Within Irish republicanism there is a minor current of thought which argues that the Second Dáil continued to exist after the establishment of the Irish Free State. In December 1938, a group of seven people[2], who had been elected to the Second Dáil in 1921, met with the IRA Army Council under Seán Russell. At this meeting, the seven signed over what they believed were the authority of the Government of Dáil Éireann to the Army Council. Henceforth, the IRA Army Council perceived itself to be the legitimate government of the Irish Republic.

    [edit] See also

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Pete,

    time for a thread on Engleze pressure on the DUP?

    El Gordo says –

    “In the next few days, I will use all my efforts to make sure that the devolution of policing and justice can go ahead and the final stages of the peace process will now be completed, to the better government of Northern Ireland and to the peace and prosperity of the people there.”

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Was the article revised or did that just allude to the Blair/Bush thing?”

    My bad: I guess I was suggesting that what seems like the main point of the Guardian article (see the line I highlighted in my previous post) could be applied to most wars. How many recent wars were prosecuted after a lengthy debate and a democratic vote of all the people, I wonder? I was being sarcastic when I used the word impressive. And the word analysis. (I struggled to find the “competing interests” as mentioned at the top either. Hey ho.)

  • lorraine

    it was the second dail, thank you fair deal

    tazia doll

    what the fuck are you on: it’s definitely stronger than whisky?

  • Driftwood

    What NI politician used the phrase “Can’t you smell the fudge cooking?”
    Was it

    a)Peter Robinson
    b)Capt.Terence O Neill

    Answers by the end of September please, to James Allister esq.

  • where’sthelaw

    Henry McDonald is quite right in his piece on the importance of the symbol and it is a sad indictment of NI politics.

    Robinson should be going after the PIRA (and loyalist) coffers but after undoubtedly and stupidly agreeing to some side deal he needs the Council wound up more than ever before. He has very little to show the Unionists that the rule of law is working. Paramilitaries (on both sides) whilst they have stopped their terrorist based activities – have amassed massive fortunes that remain untouched.

    In the last few years there are numerous crimes that remain unsolved that have been attributed to each side.

    These will never be solved as they too poltically contentious.

    As a Unionist I honeslty have no interest in the Army Council as PIRA is now essentially defunct – however I do want to see people going into the courts for crimes post the GFA and I want to see the paramilitary wealth tackled. This is what the DUP promised and they have consistently failed to deliver.

    The DUP silence over recent high profile cases is very worrying.

    What I am really saying – is when will the line be drawn in the sand and the rule of law properly enforced?

    This what the people of NI deserve.

  • Do you think that the devolution of policing and justice would make “going after PIRA (and loyalist) coffers” and “people going into the courts for crimes post the GFA” more likely, or less likely?

  • where’sthelaw

    Good question

    I am not too sure. I suspect that it will have no impact – anything attributed or concerning mainstream paramilitary organisations will still be swept under the carpet. If you have been a member of a mainstream organisation and you are a senior player in that field you are simply untouchable – yes you might see an investigation or an arrest but they always come to nothing – it is more about appearing to do something – God forbid anyone is ever convicted or assets seized.

    There would have been a day when the Unionists would have jumped up and down if a high profile case collapsed but now they are mute – so my guess they have been bought in some way.

    Just want to make one thing clear whilst my comments have concentrated on PIRA they equally apply to the Loyalists.

    What do you think Paul?

  • Dave

    “Henceforth, the IRA Army Council perceived itself to be the legitimate government of the Irish Republic.” – Pancho’s Horse

    Mental illness is a terrible thing, alas. Isn’t reality a bitch when you discover that you’re only a princess in your own little fantasy world?

  • I don’t know w’law. I really don’t.

    If I thought that either option – devolving the powers, or keeping them at Westminster – would lead to more effective policing and law enforcement I’d be all in favour of it.

    By more effective policing, I mean tackling organised crime and matters that affect ordinary people, rather than, say, concentrating on revenue-generating “safety” cameras and criminalising non-commercial copyright infringements while looking the other way while drugs are bought and sold, cars are stolen, houses are robbed, and crime lords live it up on the fruits of their crimes.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Ah, Dave, you can be so-o hurtful. I was merely transcribing from Wiki to illuminate the debate. You are not a creationist, are you?