“Paramilitarism is now deemed more legitimate…”

In a Guardian report which features a Continuity IRA member’s description of Sinn Féin as “British ministers in a puppet government”, Robin Wilson makes an important point.  Now that “the guerillas” are the people in power…  From the Guardian report

“In theory, the ‘peace process’ culminating in the 1998 Belfast agreement was meant by the inclusion in the political arena of representatives of paramilitary organisations, principally the IRA, to lay the basis for a peaceful region in which all significant political forces, including Sinn Féin, would share power,” Wilson said.

“This should have implied that the ensuing periods from 1999 to 2002, and 2007 to the present, when power-sharing has operated at Stormont, should have seen paramilitary violence diminish, while in the intervening ‘political vacuum’ of direct rule, violence should have risen. In fact, the opposite is the case. The number of shootings and bombing clearly increased in both periods of devolution, while falling in the interregnum of ‘direct rule’ from London.

“Paramilitarism is now deemed more legitimate than when the [Good Friday] Agreement was promulgated. Evidence shows that nearly twice as many people now give credit to the reasons given by paramilitaries for their violence as in 1998, with support strongest among youth.

“This is because the alphabet soup of ‘republican’ and ‘loyalist’ organisations – responsible, along with state forces, for grievous crimes against international human rights and humanitarian law – have been legitimised after the fact as ‘ex-combatants’, reinventing themselves as peacemakers but pilloried as ‘traitors’ by their young challengers.”  [added emphasis]

No “complacency” there.