ABC News reports:
DUBLIN, Ireland Oct 18, 2005 — The Irish Republican Army has halted many of its underground activities including bank robberies and vigilante attacks and is broadly observing its July 28 peace declaration, two government officials who have read a confidential report told The Associated Press.
The assessment offers no firm conclusions, however, on whether the group has ended involvement in criminal rackets, which has emerged as a major new stumbling block in
's peace process. Northern Ireland
The report from the Independent Monitoring Commission, a panel formed by the British and Irish governments to assess the activities of the IRA and other outlawed groups, is to be published Wednesday.
However, both officials said the experts could not say for certain whether the IRA is withdrawing from many of its traditional criminal rackets, chiefly the cross-border smuggling of fuel and cigarettes. Such activity, they said, was pervasive, but difficult to pin on the IRA as an organization rather than on individual IRA members.
Certainly there are a lot of caveats -- there always are when talking about Ireland, and the process of legitimization will take a long, long time -- but it seems clear that progress is being made toward an eventual settlement that will preserve the peace. Now if only the Prots would get on board....
Read the whole thing here.