Thursday, July 21, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: IRA won't go away

On Monday I touched on the issue of the proposed IRA statement on the future of the organisation in the wake of Gerry Adams' call for the group to "fully embrace and accept" democratic means. I think it's important though to address how the recent bombings in London will impact on this proposed statement. In my view, they will have quite a significant impact.

I had my doubts prior to the recent London bombings that the IRA would listen to Adams' call. In light of the bombings I am convinced that the organisation will certainly now remain in place and that the proposed statement, rather than deliver disbandment or decommissioning, will actually sidestep these issues and instead contain criticism of the British government as well as the Orange Order for the violence weeks ago during marches in Belfast, and that Loyalist violence will be used as an excuse for the organisation's existence to remain. The real reason they will remain in the background though will be due to the renewed terrorist threat that faces Britain from Islamic terrorism.

While it may sound cynical to say, the fact is, when bombs went off in the North, for the British government it was a concern. When they went off on the British mainland, it was a tragedy. It appears that Tony Blair and the British government consider there to be a distinct possibility that the IRA would take its war back to the mainland of Britain even though I personally don't ever see this happening. That fear though, a fear which will be heightened significantly in light of the London bombings recently, makes the Provos a potent threat (in the British government's eyes anyway) and thus gives Sinn Fein a useful advantage over everyone else - a private army whilst the British government is focused on its War on Terror.

Say what you want about the IRA but there's one thing that they clearly do not ignore - tradition. And the fact of the matter is, it has long been an old Republican tradition that 'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity' and in the Provo's eyes, that saying will hold true.

The IRA are going nowhere.


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