Day By Day

Thursday, July 28, 2005

IRA Update -- Breakthrough?

Sky News reports:

The IRA will today release a key statement on its future which will "challenge" all sides, the Sinn Fein leader has said.

Gerry Adams urged all parties to read the words carefully and "remain united".

The British and Irish governments are hoping the long-awaited statement will show what steps the IRA has taken to following through on pledges for a total disarmament.

Now this is hopeful. It is probably too much to hope for full disarmament, but clearly something important is in the air. Rocked by the McCartney scandal which deprived the organization of its American support, and increasingly implicated in common criminal activities, the IRA is badly in need of complete reform. What direction that reform takes will become apparent with this forthcoming announcement.

Poor guys. It's not easy being a terrorist during a "war on terror." People just don't respect you any more.

Read it here.


Sky News reports:

The IRA paramilitary movement will put down its arms from 4pm today.

A statement from the republicans said it would halt armed struggles and work towards peaceful solutions.

The long-awaited pledge instructed all IRA members to "assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means".

The British Prime Minister hailed the announcement as "a step of unparalleled magnitude in the history of Northern Ireland".

Tony's right. This is huge. More than I had thought possible. Disarmament, a repudiation of violence, and an agreement not to engage in political activity.

Critics observe, though, that the IRA will maintain its organizational structure.

Read it here.

Rob McCartney's family is, however, not satisfied with the IRA announcement.

Reuters reports:

Catherine McCartney, whose brother was murdered by IRA members outside a Belfast pub, said the guerrilla group must stamp out criminality as well as formally ending its 30-year armed campaign against Britain.

McCartney, whose family has waged an international campaign to bring his killers to court, said the Irish Republican Army did not go far enough with Thursday's announcement that it would cease all armed activities and pursue its aims through politics.

"I thought there would be more clarity about those involved in criminal activity. The IRA should have made it more clear that they would have no protection," she told Reuters from Belfast.

Read it here.


CNN has a day-after followup that notes widespread skepticism regarding the sincerity of the IRA pronouncement.

The IRA's renunciation of political violence and promise to disarm Thursday won easy praise from world leaders -- but a much tougher critique from Belfast's streetwise Catholics and Protestants, who offered views as divided as the city's high-walled neighborhoods.
Read it here.

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