Moving on and forgetting the old soldiers of the Provisional IRA…

If you missed this from Shane Paul O’Doherty a week or so back, then it’s worth catching. You should try and read the whole thing. But I think this paragraph is worth highlighting…

The IRA from the period 1969-2005 is the first version of the IRA where the leadership has distanced itself from the armed struggle and its fighters, has claimed to have exited the IRA halfway through the campaign or has even entirely denied membership and command and control of the IRA – leaving the many thousands of former IRA prisoners out in the cold with convictions and prison sentences that cannot be expunged. Their difficulties in finding employment and careers have not gone away.

That covers a multitude of consequences of the IRA’s long war… As Peter Taylor has noted, “the price for everyone, young and old, has been impossibly high…”

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  • aquifer

    Thousands more men dropped back into a post-Thatcher industrially damned UK.

    Tragic and unnecessary destruction of employed futures all round.

    Blame the Brits, in this case the British Labour party, for being so useless in standing up for non union members, and for refusing to stand here.

  • Granni Trixie

    In general I think all prisoners ought to be given a chance to make a new start. In the case of Ni i thought there were interventions aimed at that – for their own sake and as part of the peace process/no going back. However sounds like SPD thinks ex prisoners are being forgotten as part of the reconciliation project which he contrasts with colleagues in the higher echelons of SF.

    I read this mans story at the time. He seems to be one of the few not to be ‘on message’ to try to legitimise the deeds of the Ira, opting to pass on his view that people like himself were just futile cannon fodder.

  • Brian Walker

    Just picking up on one detail..
    “….leaving the many thousands of former IRA prisoners out in the cold with convictions and prison sentences that cannot be expunged. Their difficulties in finding employment and careers have not gone away.

    The Executive Action plan on ending paramilitary activity.” July 2016

    https://www.northernireland.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/newnigov/Executive%20Action%20Plan%20-%20Tackling%20Paramilitary%20Activity.pdf

    This is full of the usual aspirational rhetoric. But it does describe in general terms plans to address this big issue. The bars on public sector employment for former paramilitaries and on taking out loans were to be lifted.
    I wonder what has happened to all that?

    B: SUPPORT FOR TRANSITION

    Ending paramilitary activity is a challenging ambition that will inevitably involve a period of transition – but transition cannot continue indefinitely. The Fresh Start agreement included commitments to provide support for transition and reintegration of former prisoners

    B1 – The Executive should urgently adopt recommendations by the Review Panel that (a) the Fair Employment and Treatment Order 1998 (FETO) should be amended; (b) the employers’ guidance should be implemented in respect of public sector recruitment and vetting; and (c) that there should be greater transparency over all these issues. Oversight of the implementation of these specific measures should be included within the remit of the Independent Reporting Commission. The Executive will urgently adopt recommendations by the Review Panel that (a) the Fair Employment and Treatment Order 1998 (FETO) should be amended; (b) the employers’ guidance should be implemented in respect of public sector recruitment and vetting; and (c) that there should be greater transparency over all these issues.

    B2 – The Review Panel’s work should continue to consider what steps can be taken to improve access to financial services (including lending and insurance), adoption and travel advice. The Executive will engage with the Review Panel (appointed by the Ex-prisoners Working Group5 ) to address the issues identified relating to access to financial services (including lending and insurance), adoption and travel.

  • ted hagan

    In all truth I can’t get that worked up about the job prospects for ex-paramilitaries, whether they be loyalist or republican. The vast majority of the people in the North spent the best years of their working lives dodging the paramilitary onslaught.

  • james

    “Their difficulties in finding employment and careers have not gone away.”

    I thought most former IRA men had diversified had simply shifted their focus more exclusively on petty theft, drug dealing and extortion – though there is always the option of Sinn Fein rep or ‘activist’, I suppose.

    On the Loyalist side, seems to be mainly petty theft, drug dealing and extortion – there not being a former terrorist club for Loyalists.

    In the case of both groups, they are the dregs of society.

  • Gopher

    You forgot to mention torture, thats a skill you can pass on.

  • In Belfast

    If they started “work” so long ago they’re of retirement age anyway and should enjoy the UK’s benefit system.

  • Granni Trixie

    More than that, partly to blame for the troubles is the convention in Westminster not to bring up Ni issues in Parliament, in a context where Ni was a single party state and unrepresentative of the whole community.

    Irish/Ni immigrants around LOndon/Manchester had an uphill struggle bringing discriminatiOn grievances from back home to their local MPs. By 1964 these ENglish MPs advised people from Dungannon to document housing, franchise and employment issues. The rest is history.