Villiers: “My understanding is, very much in line with that of the chief constable, that a number of the organisational structures of the Provisional IRA still exist…”

Sinn Féin continue with their policy of denial [of reality… – Ed], although Gerry Kelly has come closest to acknowledging that reality according to this RTÉ report

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Kelly said based on the political evidence over the past ten years, the IRA has not been active and therefore does not exist in the circumstances that people are talking about.

Hmmm…  Meanwhile, the governments continue to make excuses.  From an Irish Independent report yesterday

Earlier this year, in a letter to Sinn Féin, Comm O’Sullivan said gardai have no intelligence or information to suggest the IRA was maintaining its military structure.

But speaking this afternoon at the Michael Collins Commemoration in Beal na Blath, Cork, [Irish Government Justice Minister] Ms Fitzgerald said: “Let me be clear the security assessment by the Chief Constable and the Garda Commissioner is the same.”

“Clearly everything is investigated on an ongoing basis and the IRA is a proscribed organisation and we have the Special Criminal court, we have  people been charged if they are involved in criminal activity or terrorist activity of any sort North or South and that will continue,” she added.

Asked if the Provisional IRA still operated in Ireland, Ms Fitzgerald said: “That’s a question that can be answered in a whole variety of ways.” [added emphasis throughout]

“The truth is they don’t exist as a terrorist organisation, as a military organisation in the South and the North they are proscribed organisation so if there was any evidence they would be prosecuted they would be investigated,” she added.

And the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has told the BBC

A police belief that the Provisional IRA still exists did not come as a surprise to the government, the Northern Ireland Secretary has said.

Theresa Villiers said in her time in office she had been aware some of its structures remain in place.

But she said there was no evidence the Provisional IRA was involved in any paramilitary or terrorist activity.

Ms Villiers said that “[It] didn’t come as a surprise to me”.

My understanding is, very much in line with that of the chief constable, that a number of the organisational structures of the Provisional IRA still exist but that there is no evidence it’s involved in terrorism or paramilitary activity,” she said. [added emphasis throughout]

As, I’m sure, the NI Secretary of State told the US administration last month [But is it involved in murder? – Ed]  Well, according to the Chief Constable…

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  • MainlandUlsterman

    No, it would be a whole lot better. 3,500 people would still be alive. Tens of thousands would be living their lives without coping every day with crippling injuries and the loss of their loved ones. You are joking I assume when you suggest a fairer society was down to the IRA, rather than say, all the non-violent people working for it for decades who wanted them to stop?
    Are you seriously suggesting that without the ‘armed struggle’, N Ireland would still be as it was in the 1960s? Reform was already happening, slowly but steadily; and by 1970 pretty much everything complained of my NICRA had been won. It’s not a choice between now and 1969. The now we would have without the Troubles would not be the same as 1969, just as the Republic isn’t and nor is any other place in the world.
    There were indeed deeper structural changes needed in politics and society – but the IRA campaign made dealing with those much more difficult. It’s fair to estimate the IRA campaign probably delayed progress by at least 20 years on political reforms. Power-sharing was impossible to win support for while people were being attacked daily. But when the violence stops, things become possible. And those doing the violence even discover they could have had what they were asking for years earlier, if only they had been willing to stop the killing. The IRA held progress back. That’s what Hume finally convinced Adams of and even Adams had to agree.
    Oh and btw, discrimination in housing and education – eh? Are you quite sure? Henry Patterson’s well reviewed history of the period disagrees with you on housing; and I’m not sure I’ve heard education included before. I’m not making excuses for the ancien regime by the way, which massively needed reform – but let’s try and stick to the facts.

  • gendjinn

    Wasting your time – previous commenter Carl Marks has been over this ground several times with MU. He could have starred in Memento.

    OTOH perhaps Unionism will be less willing to start a war this time around given how badly it worked out for them the last few times. But I doubt it. From the comments this week Unionism has not changed one iota since 1965.

  • Zeno

    I said North Robin. I could have said Northern Ireland, but that would only confuse republicans. The ROI is very different, Mary Lou was Privately Educated. I don’t think any of our SF Leaders even went to school.

  • Zeno

    One group is hardly a flood Niall. If there was a flood I think the last 3 elections we had here would have produced better results. I seem to remember their vote declined in the last 3 elections. Am I wrong?

  • babyface finlayson

    And would you therefore acknowledge the possibility that some kind of PIRA structure still exists?

  • Robin Keogh

    No u said ‘particularly’ in the North which assumes you include the South also on a limited level. You also said nothing in your question about leadership.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well at least focus on where the threat really exists rather tha inventing a threat.

  • Zeno

    Ah OK, tell me about the floods of lower middle class people joining SF in the North then.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well everything is possible. I don’t think it still exists in the sense that it is the same personnell and command structure that downed tools years ago. It is quite possible that a group of heads have got together and are styling themselves as the IRAmaybe? But sure the only people that can answer that question are the police. They are apparently still investigating the possibility. In short I don’t have a clue, and itlooks like nobody else does either.

  • Robin Keogh

    I never claimed there was any flood, u are getting confused again.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    So sick of having to correct this kind of Republican demi-history, but just for the record (and it’s my last contribution in this conversation) …

    1. ” … it wasn’t ‘The IRA Campaign’ was it?”
    You’re claiming now there was no IRA campaign? Takes the rewriting of the history of the Troubles into virgin territory …

    2. “It was the ‘Loyalists’ who were the first to use violence wasn’t it?
    The first people to be killed, including the first British soldier and the first RUC officer were killed by ‘Loyalists’. weren’t they?”
    I’m not sure if it’s possible to say who was ‘first to use violence’ as it depends what you count. The attack on the police station by Republicans that led to several nights of rioting in August 1969? The first death in the Troubles was a loyalist killing a policeman. It really depends where you start from. The start of the Troubles is better and more fairly seen as a ramping-up series of mutual attacks and pointing the finger and saying ‘they started it’, by either side really, is missing the point. Both sides can make reasonable claims it was the other side’s fault. Which leads me to the conclusion it was 6 to one and half a dozen to the other. I’m certainly not blaming Republicans alone for the inter-communal attacks and rioting that started the Troubles off. But the Troubles wasn’t a single event. It evolved and had phases. The balance of blame differs as you go through the Troubles. Heavy-handed army operations for example played a role in the early years but hardly at all by the time you get to the 80s and 90s. Loyalists were going almost much tit for tat in several years from 72-76, then fell away to a much lower percentage for 14 or 15 years, before returning to tit for tat in the early 90s. The one real constant is the massive amount of Republican violence, though of course there too there are patterns. Looking at the Troubles in phases, the Repub / Loyalist / Sec Force percentages of responsibility for deaths goes:
    69-70 (start of the Troubles) – 48/12/36 (of 42 deaths)
    71-76 (peak paramilitary onslaughts) – 53/33/12 (of 1,752 deaths)
    77-90 (IRA’s ‘long war’) – 71/17/10 (of 1,249 deaths)
    91-94 (new Loyalist leadership) – 48/48/5 (of 343 deaths)
    94-98 (ceasefires to GFA) – 59/36/1 (of 103 deaths)
    OVERALL: 59/29/10 (of 3,480 deaths)

    3 “That BBC report also disagrees with your assertion that there was no discrimination in housing.”
    I didn’t mean no discrimination happened at all but with it happening both ways, the net effect was more or less neutral. What Prof Patterson says is “allegations of wholesale discrimination against Catholics in the allocation of housing simply do not stand up to serious scrutiny … Catholics had a disproportionately large share of local authority housing …” What the BBC report refers to is that misallocation did occur in some areas and was bad there. Much was made of that at the time as a symbol of local corrupt practices – and fair enough. But as Prof Patterson found, the net effect across Northern Ireland was that Catholics did a little better than Protestants on housing allocation. I’m no expert myself but Prof Patterson is an extremely reputable historian and one quite prepared to lay the boot into unionist misdeeds where they did happen.

    4. “In the late sixties the IRA were a spent force, following the late 50’s early 60’s border campaign which even then only involved 150 IRA men up against over 15,000 NI security forces.”
    Not so. Edwards and McGrattan among others have led a revising of the historical understanding of the IRA’s development in the 60s. Richard English I think was first to uncover the numbers on this. In 1962 there were 657 IRA members but by 1966 this had risen to 1,039. It was also re-arming significantly during the 60s.

    5. “It was ‘Loyalist’ violence and intransigence which recreated the IRA.”
    You’re really going for the full house of Republican myths here. Edwards and McGrattan again: “The burning of Bombay Street occurred following two nights of IRA-inspired rioting against loyalists.” The IRA has its self-explanatory creation myth around its temporary shortage of guns when it first wanted to shoot people in 1969. And it’s true they were briefly ill-prepared. But the IRA were quickly centrally involved, according to Irish government reports, involved right from the first disturbances. The IRA never went away and it has to take responsibility for its own actions. When the Provo split came and then the Provo Army Council made THE big decision of the Troubles in January 1970 to launch an offensive campaign to force a united Ireland, it cannot claim this was merely a response to Loyalist violence. Its aims were not simply to get Loyalists to stop aggression, or even to becalm the security forces. Its aims were to force the UK government into transferring N Ireland to the Republic through an armed campaign. It took several months to start implementing the plans, but that decision was the genesis of the ‘armed struggle’.

    6. “Did they then take full advantage and take it further? Yes but that’s what happens when you push people beyond their limit.”
    Pushed by what exactly? People doing less violence to them than they were dishing out on everyone else? Sorry but Republicans just have to take responsibility for producing the vast bulk of the violence of the Troubles, it’s that simple. Others should take responsibility for their share too. But Republicans cannot explain away their violence as some kind of proportionate response to attacks on them. The facts and figures give the lie to that.

    7 “The subsequent claim by the Loyalists that their murder of innocent Catholics was retaliation was hypocrisy of the highest order.”
    I agree with you in that at least. Loyalists can’t very well criticise Republicans for terrorism and then do it themselves in response. There was a huge and senseless waste of life from the Loyalist campaign, which did not bring back any of the dead they thought they were avenging and just created more misery and suffering.

    8. “So let’s have no more ‘ IRA campaign ‘ nonsense shall we?”
    Yes, let’s forget there ever was an IRA campaign. Unfortunately, many of us can’t even if we wanted to.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And the old ad hominem again, there we go. Republican analysis can never cause offence it seems. Any annoyance expressed is purely artificial, because people secretly love the whacky, fun Republican take on our recent history. No one could possibly find it dishonest, immoral, unfair or self-serving. It’s all an act. You might call it “false consciousness” 😉

  • gendjinn

    If only. The weaponry in 1690 was shite.

  • Mister_Joe

    The SoS knows only what her minions in the PSNI and MI5 tell her. If the CC says that the PIRA still exists, she can only parrot it. What she says is immaterial except that she can pull the plug on the whole edifice and she has clearly intimated that she will not be doing that. So, there we have it despite robinson’s bleating.

  • Mister_Joe

    If you are the P.M. and you want to destroy a potential party opponent, first you appoint them to the post of SoS to N.I.

  • Zeno

    You posted in support of this statement.

    “Given the new generation of lower middle class youths that is starting to flood Sinn Fein in the North and the South,”

    You did not say there is no flood. You did not say it didn’t apply to the North.

  • barnshee

    “And what do u intend to do about that?”

    Sit and smile as the RA top another former member seems all thats needed at the moment aside for confirming opinion on the support base.

  • Niall Chapman

    I wasnt speaking about a flood of voters, I meant that the party members themselves in ten years will be mostly middle class, and will have less and less in common with the IRA and the current party leadership

  • barnshee

    “Blood on my streets is cause for genuine concern.”
    For the “authorities”

    It depends on whose blood

  • Robin Keogh

    Very constructive

  • barnshee

    From my viewpoint the actions are “very constructive”

  • Zeno

    Ah ok. I can see that in the South, but here there is nothing to attract young middle class voters to Sinn Fein.

  • Niall Chapman

    I don’t live in Ireland any more but if I did I wouldn’t waste my vote by voting for McDonnells crowd, so would definitely vote Sinn Fein. In the same way unionists vote for DUP, they think UUP are a lame duck

  • Jack Stone

    Technically, Sinn Fein never agreed to disband the IRA. The opposite was true, in fact, former irish minister for justice and Tanaiste Michael McDowell (for example) was quite clear on that fact recently. PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton is right saying that the Provisional IRA still exists as an organisation, but not for paramilitary purposes. In no peace agreement was the IRA disbanded. It is still a proscribed organisation (both in the UK and the Republic of Ireland) but it’s disbanding was never a condition of peace. It seems to me that Unionists are moving the goalposts.

  • Zeno

    I wonder what the Chief Constable thought would happen when he said members of the the IRA carried out this murder and the IRA still exists? It now looks from the amount of backpedaling He is doing that he has had his knuckles rapped and is succumbing to political pressure. He needs to go.
    Alex Kane in the Irish News says there are 3 options. Suspension, elections and a new round of negotiations or Direct Rule. Suspension looks most likely, so expect a doddery old American Statesman in the run up to Christmas.
    The Assembly must fall. The DUP have been shafted by the UU.