The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #119234   Message #2589428
Posted By: Teribus
15-Mar-09 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: BS: True IRA ?? Who are they ?
Subject: RE: BS: True IRA ?? Who are they ?
Sorry about the links they seem to be faulty. Here's the first from Jenny McCartney:

Northern Ireland: Disgust alone will not stop the killing

One lesson of the Troubles is that violence makes its own momentum, says Jenny McCartney.

By Jenny McCartney

Last Updated: 6:52PM GMT 14 Mar 2009

The late tycoon Sir James Goldsmith once remarked that when a man marries his mistress he creates a vacancy. The same adage applies, historically speaking, when militant Irish republicans get hitched to a government. The vacancy in question has now been filled, with depressing commitment, by the Real IRA and its current fellow-travellers in the Continuity IRA, who between them last week were responsible for the murders of two young British Army soldiers and a senior policeman.

Many people have drawn comfort from the mass demonstrations of public revulsion in Northern Ireland that followed the murders. Peter Robinson, the DUP First Minister, and Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister, both professed their disgust at the killings (although McGuinness's muscular description of "traitors to the island of Ireland" for the killers of Stephen Carroll, the Northern Irish policeman, was notably more visceral than his reaction to the murder of the British Army soldiers).

We would, however, be dangerously naïve to believe that moral opposition alone, while welcome, will make the slightest difference to the capacity of dissident republicans to strike again. If there is one lesson of the Troubles, it is that unchecked violence slowly creates its own momentum, sucking in apologists, silencing opposition, and generating fresh hatreds and confusions.

When the Provisional IRA was established in 1969, amid a background of growing sectarian turbulence, my parents were living with three small children in a religiously mixed housing estate in Belfast. The overwhelming consensus there, at that time, was that the young Ian Paisley was a crazed religious demagogue, and the emergent Provisionals were despicable killers intent on dragging Northern Ireland into chaos. As the violence worsened, there were endless public protests against the murder campaigns of both loyalist and republican paramilitaries: the extremists prospered despite it. More than 30 years later, Paisley and the Provisional IRA leaders were garlanded as Northern Ireland's elder statesmen.

Stephen Carroll, whose funeral was held last Friday, was a policeman for 24 years, first in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and then – when that was disbanded – in the new Police Service of Northern Ireland. He was a Catholic, which makes his initial decision to join the RUC doubly brave, since Catholic policemen were particularly targeted for assassination by the Provisional IRA. During many years of Mr Carroll's exemplary career, Martin McGuinness would have been an unrepentant apologist for his murder.

McGuinness knows this, of course. He also knows that when he describes the Continuity IRA as "traitors to the island of Ireland" – by which he means traitors to the spirit of Irish unity – it does not quite make sense. Dissident republicans are certainly traitors to present Sinn Fein policy, and also to human decency, but their behaviour is perfectly in keeping with the mores of militant republicanism which McGuinness himself so long espoused.

"Physical force republicanism" has always annexed for itself the role of keeper of the sacred national flame, to be kept burning by "blood sacrifice" regardless of the wishes of the majority of Irish people. Patrick Pearse cared nothing for the more moderate views of ordinary Dubliners when he and his small band of rebels briefly seized control of the city in Easter 1916. Nor did McGuinness advocate that the IRA campaign be halted at a time when the majority of Northern Irish Catholics were voting for Sinn Fein's peaceful nationalist rival, the SDLP. For the Real and Continuity IRA and their supporters, Sinn Fein represents a "sell-out". The dissidents don't mind being hated, because they believe that they are right.

There is no denying that Ireland is a different place than it was in the 1970s: more prosperous and less politically feverish. But the dissidents' campaign will seek to generate fear, and fear has fast-spreading, unpredictable roots. Sinn Fein, newly muzzled by democracy, cannot destroy dissident republicanism in the IRA's traditional style, by sending men with balaclavas and hurley sticks round to disable future operations in brutally literal fashion. It will have to give its full backing to the dark arts of intelligence-gathering and rigorous surveillance, this time on behalf of the state. And that is likely to be an infinitely more difficult, tortured decision for Messrs McGuinness and Adams than any of their much-applauded statements last week.