“It was quite commonly said within that community..”

Newshound spotted this CNN article in which former deputy director of the CIA, Richard Kerr, now a member of the Independent Monitoring Commission, warns of the activities of still-violent republican paramilitary groups. The figures quoted are worth comparing with those of Judith Gillespie, PSNI deputy chief constable. The article also quotes Paul Bew on something which may be contributing to the internal pressure and the external “crisis”

“The Good Friday agreement is not delivering on rapid progress towards Irish unity, which many people in Sinn Fein expected it would do, and many of their voters expected it would do,” Bew added. “It was quite commonly said within that community that 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter rising of 1916, would be the date for Irish unity.”

And the final point in the article

Sinn Fein is also locked in a bitter dispute with its main partner in the power-sharing executive, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), over whether London should grant Northern Ireland more authority over the police, the criminal justice system and prisons.

The DUP is blocking efforts to transfer those powers to Belfast, Bew said. “The great fear of the unionist right is a republican campaign of violence on the streets while you have republicans also in government exercising power in sensitive areas such as policing and justice,” he added.

But Bew, a member of the British House of Lords, said that while the dispute has symbolic importance, it does not matter so much in practical terms because Northern Ireland already has some control over policing at a local level, and the British maintain a large intelligence operation in Northern Ireland.

That would be a reference to MI5..

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  • I can’t get my head around the idea that republicans thought there would be a united Ireland by 2016. How did they think it would be brought about?
    The Hume thesis always seemed more plausible; that the provos simply wanted ‘off the hook’ of a pointless and destructive campaign, to direct their energies through politics – not because this would bring a united Ireland any closer but just because it was a sensible thing to do. Talking up the prospects of a united Ireland might have goven them some scant cover but really – who in their right mind believed it?

    Surely, in his quiet moments fishing by the river, Martin McGuinness counts himself luck not to be dead or in jail. Does that, in itself, not vindicate the decisions he took?

  • Garza

    Good post malachi!

    I too I’m astonished that the republican leadership ever thought or told their supporters there would be a united Ireland by 2016. Who was smoking what when they came up with that?

  • Drumlins Rock

    I think some of them might have believed it, even some more gullible unionist believed it, and it was vaguely plausible if demographics showed the approach of a catholic majority on one hand and “peace” and the Celtic Tiger on the other to persuade enough protestants to go “for a deal”.
    The reality is slightly different with peace favouring the status quo the tiger getting stuff and increasing pro union “catholic & others” group starting to emerge.
    Ltes hope reality sinks in soon.

  • aquifer

    To paraphrase Startrek

    Its unity, but not as we know it.

    The old certainties of irish and british life are going into history’s round filing cabinet:

    The ability of a nation state to have control over its own economic resources.
    The primacy of national parliaments.
    The efficacy of political violence.
    The power and trustworthiness of religions.
    The value of uniquely national sports.
    Human rights as secondary to national progress.
    Life and marriage within limited areas.
    National brands of consumer goods.

    In the end unity is the absence of difference, something not easy to spot.

    Whether we put our commonalities in a political wrapper is for later, and might depend on irish economic growth raising tensions with the other island. An economic growth that is utterly incompatible with activity by sectarian gun gangs.

    The IRA just set unity back entirely, and the UDA reduce protestant areas to welfare ghettos ripe for takeover by anyone with an efficient police force and cash.