Thursday, July 28, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: IRA statement

Well it's the big issue of the day obviously and I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't have a look at what the ramifications of the statement will be. Since this statement affects numerous groups in the peace process I thought I'd give my analysis on exactly how it will affect each group. So without further ado:

Republicans - I imagine those within Republicanism are split right now. I would hope that most are in support of the route the IRA appear to be taking but there is likely to be some within Republicanism who are in total dismay. I think that some IRA volunteers will jump ship to the Continuity IRA or the Real IRA. These dissident groups must be rubbing their hands together with glee at today's news. It remains to be seen what effect, if any, this will have on the prospect of peace in Ireland's north.

Loyalists - The Loyalists have now seen the IRA take a big step. It's their turn now. Loyalists are a huge threat to stability in Ireland's north and I feel this statement will turn alot of attention onto them and their criminal ways. I remain sceptical though as to whether we will see them engage in acts of decommissioning and to ultimately embrace peace.

Nationalists - I think for nationalists, today is a great day. Physical force Republicanism has been shown to be the wrong way forward. It's time now to pursue Irish unity through peaceful means only and to abide by the Good Friday Agreement which urges unity by consent. I think Irish nationalism will be strengthened by today's announcement.

Unionists - Unionists are clearly sceptical about today's statement and no one can blame them for this stance. The IRA declared a ceasefire in 1994 but ended up going back to war. Ultimately, the IRA must be judged on its actions and not its words. However, if, and it's a big if, the IRA back up this statement with the necessary actions then it is time for Unionists to abide by the Good Friday Agreement and to participate fully with Sinn Fein in devolved government.

Irish government - On the surface it's all smiles from Dublin and while I don't doubt that they are happy at the current progress, the fact is they will soon realise that this paves the way for the possibility of Sinn Fein in government and this will be a worrying development for alot of parties in the South. It will be interesting to see what today's statement does for Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams' popularity in the Republic. I imagine both will be very high when the next poll is carried out.

British government - The British government I'm sure are very happy with today's events. They have a far bigger foe to focus on now in the shape of Islamic terrorism. Still, the British cannot run from their obligations and Tony Blair must cooperate with the inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and release the required information which I expect will detail involvement from MI5 with the UVF in the murder of Irish civilians.

Myself - For me, today is a very welcome day. As someone who is a supporter of Irish reunification through peaceful methods, I'm heartened by the days events. I honestly hope that the events of today will kickstart a renewed interest in the issue of Irish unity, particularly in the Republic. A United Ireland that caters for all traditions is indeed a possibility now. I have said numerous times that the IRA were the biggest stumbling bloc to unity and that by Sinn Fein being associated with them, they were a partitionist party. I hope this is now no longer the case.

Today's events are indeed historic and much will be spoken of and written about the 28th of July over the next few days and weeks. There is alot of optimism right now, albeit cautious optimism, but hopefully this optimism will be rewarded with results. It's the least we all deserve.

Ni neart go chur le cheile.


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