Category: Archive

‘Absolutely clear’

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Independent Monitoring Commission, the government-appointed body which scrutinizes the IRA and the British army to ensure compliance with the Good Friday agreement, will say it is “absolutely clear” the IRA has given up its military campaign and wound down all other activities.
The report effectively removes the last excuse for the boycott by Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party of the North’s cross-community government.
This was presaged by the DUP’s deputy leader Peter Robinson on his visit to New York two weeks ago, when he insisted unionists were finally ready to share power with their Catholic neighbors, so long as its elected representatives were “committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.”
The IMC report will state that the IRA has “further dismantled its military structure” and abandoned all other actions such as training, intelligence gathering and fundraising, and is now doing what it can to stop members from “freelance” smuggling.
However in what is likely to prove a controversial assessment, the IMC claims republicans, although devoting themselves solely to peaceful and political means, “will look to the long-term exploitation of discreetly laundered assets which were previously gained illegally.”
This clause is likely to provoke a heated debate in the run-up to the 2007 election in the Republic. Progressive Democrats president, and minister for justice, Michael McDowell will doubtless cite it as evidence of an IRA conspiracy to corrupt the State, but republicans will insist that Britain used the law during the conflict as a political tool, and therefore such “illegality” is moot.

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