Peace on one front

The IRA announces that it renounces terrorism, resumes disarmament, and ends its 36-year war. I wonder whether any of them were at least embarrassed for finding themselves in the same moral boat as the fanatic Islamic death squads terrorizing London.

  • Wouldn't you? Wouldn't anybody?

    But some of the credit has to go to success of the Irish and Northern Ireland economy. There's been a defacto peace for years because people were too busy working and building a nice middle class lifestyle to worry about killing their neighbors, who might be working at the cubicle next door.

    Where would their future angry young soldiers come from? Young people didn't look aroudn and see a British oppressor anymore.

    And consider that much of the IRA funding came from the Irish-American community on the east coast. Anyone who lived through 9-11 doesn't want to financially support people who do the exact same thing to others.

    Simply announcing that they were renouncing bombings is a great PR move for them. It cost them nothing since they weren't doing that anymore anyway.

  • penny

    The IRA morphed into bank robbing and drug hustling to raise funds. They have become common thugs in their own neighborhoods. Their "honor" has long been tarnished.

    One of the Kennedy kids is married to an IRA member (scroll down). Ted Kennedy opened doors for Gerry Adams. Since 9/11, photo-ops with terrorists has become a political liability even for Ted.

    Will the IRA now apologize for all of the innocent lives they ended? Will Ted denounce Gerry?

  • I doubt it.

  • Franky

    Some incidental cause, but nothing major.

    The tide went against the IRA and their use of violence with the Omargh bombings by a splinter group the Real IRA. The public disgust with a bomb killing nearly 30 shoppers including children caused the Irish as a nation to stop seeing the IRA as Robin Hood bandits.

    There was a story a while back about a town in Ireland where every body knew that a store owner was partly responsible for the bombings and all would walk past his store and spit on it, essentially shunning him from the community.

  • Adding Buzzmachine to my list of blogs………I read it but forgot to put it on my links…keep up the good work, jeff.

  • Jeff, this statement was meant to come about last December or even before that but due to childishness on both sides it didn't. This statement was drafted months and months ago. The London bombings had no bearing whatsoever on this.


    If the tide went against the IRA after Omagh then why is it that they keep on getting more and more of the vote in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic via Sinn F̩in Рtheir political party? If the tide went against them they would not have members in the British Parliament, the Irish Parliament and the European Parliament. The IRA had stopped their bombing campaign well before Omagh and the people in the island of Ireland endorsed their ceasefire by giving them their votes.

    The IRA have been in a state of winding down for years and as their demands were met they wound down more, piece by piece. Catholics/Nationalists in Northern Ireland can now be classed as equals when they previously were not. They are not opressed like they were before the Provisionals came into being. They are not ghettoised like they were and the democratic process is no longer rigged so that only protestant parties get seats in the British Parliament.

    The Provisional IRA started their murder campaign after the British Army murdered 13 unarmed people at a peace rally so many years ago and it turned into a petty tit for tat campaign for too many years and thousands of lives were lost. After a long process all sides finally started to grasp reality and to make concessions and to respect the viewpoints of others.

    Yesterday's statement was the IRA in a way saying that the changes that the British Government have implemented make them believe that they are no longer needed as an illegal army and as an illegal policeforce in the North and that the rest of the concessions they want for the Nationalists can be gained via democratic means.

  • Gunther


    Wow. You're giving us context? History? Actual information that isn't based on 'a story some guy heard once'? Is this really the kind of thing we want bloggers to be doing?

  • The real reason in my opinion for the IRA finally agreeing to disband is that in the aftermath of 7/7 it has suddenly become very uncool to be a bomber and if you are one, you will now be associated in people's minds not with a justifiable cause, but with extremism.

    Of course the new anti-terror laws were probably an added incentive – instead of being able to detain you without formal charges for a few days, the security services don't need any excuse now to grab you off the street and hold you for 3 months while they go about gathering evidence against you.

    I wonder if the latest anti-terror laws passed so easily because legislators do not expect them to affect white suburban British citizens. Today, it's people of middle eastern appearance who are the suspects. But this religious brainwashing goes under borders and is loyal to no nation. Tomorrow it could have no skin color.

    Even if this doesn't happen and the threat changes, these anti-terror measures will still be on the books, and if in the future we are operating under a less benevolent system, what these laws mean is that ordinary citizens can be abducted, held for three months without charges or bail, lose their livelihoods and, if they have families, leave them without a means of support while the government actively seeks to build a case against them. Whether they do or not, their lives will be destroyed.

    It is the responsibility of legislators not to pass laws with an 'us' and 'them' mindset but to pass them based on what they could expect their own neighbors, families and friends to endure. It is a civil liberties issue. Our rights are being eroded by government bureaucrats attempting to legislate their way out of trouble, blinkers on and no eye to the future, or no interest in it. And certainly no fear that the laws they are writing and passing will ever come to affect them.

    Maybe in twenty years I'll be tagged with a biometric id card, or worse, have an electronic implant under my skin, and my movements tracked. Knowing that I could be hauled away for ‘questioning’ for months without contact with my lawyer or friends or family, how much more afraid would I be to speak my mind under those circumstances?

    Surrendering our liberty in the hope of gaining security runs the risk of losing both; what we'll build for ourselves is not a safer world but a prison.

  • Noel, "7/7" had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what the IRA did yesterday. You can have your opinion that it was, but facts and reality show it was not. Read some of the buildup to this statement and you will see this. This statement was ready and waiting for months. Also the IRA did not and are not disbanding. The IRA are still going to be around for the forseeable future. They have instead stopped all activities that are not democratic and directed their volunteers to use democratic means to attain a united Ireland.

    To be honest too Noel, I don't think you have any clue about the history of Northern Ireland but you decided to use Jeff's post as a way of getting in your own rant about liberty and security. Maybe try a post that is more in line with the subject matter you are ranting about.

  • Damien, if you want to believe that the nice people of the IRA were in no way influenced by 7/11 and the new terror laws in finally declaring that bombing people was bad and handling things diplomatically was smarter, then I have a bridge or two I could sell you with maybe a football team thrown in for good measure!

  • You're right. I'm mixing up the nice men who blew themselves up on London trains with the nice men who flew other people's planes into the World Trade Center and killed thousands.

  • Yeap, Jeff, that puts them right up there with Menachem Begin and Irgun Zvai Leumi as well as Avraham Stern and Lohame Herut Yisra'el (The Stern Gang).

    (e.g., King David Hotel bombing, July 22, 1946: Irgun Zvai Leumi terrorists, commanded by Menachem Begin, bombed the British office wing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel, killing 91 people, 17 of them Jews. Among other Irgun terrorist actions was the bombing of the British Embassy in Rome.)

  • Noel, there were already fairly stern terror laws in place specifically for Northern Ireland well before 9/11. One such law was the "Directing Terrorism" law which allowed the British to jail people with very little evidence at all. They never used it against the IRA since they were not blowing people up anymore and had destroyed a lot of their arms way before then.

    Here is some free education: Sinn Fein signed up for the Good Friday agreement back on Friday, April 10 1998. An IRA ceasefire was in effect since 1997. Changes of attitudes and concessions from the British and Irish Governments started before that. This was when the IRA started on the road to where they are now. Piece by piece and slowly.

    In fact there used to be laws that America now uses for terror called Internment where any catholic could be rounded up and jailed without trial. The British Government found it backfired on them when the majority of the innocent people jailed without a trial and their families became sympathisers to the IRA. The IRA was are used to draconian anti-terror laws and know well how to manipulate them to gain the support of people North and South.

    That anti-terror laws enacted after Sept 2001 motivated them to give further concessions this week is rather naive. You need to look up a thing called Wikipedia and do a search for Northern Ireland, it might be better to talk about factual stuff and not your own unsubstantiated ideas.

  • Damien, “fairly stern” is not arrest without any evidence or charges for three months. If what you’re saying is right and draconian terror laws were already in place, how come it’s necessary to have new legislation?

    As for the IRA gradually moving towards diplomacy, what about the £26.5m bank robbery in December last year security forces on both sides of the border say the IRA were responsible for? Or the 12 IRA volunteers who stabbed to death Robert McCartney in a Belfast pub in March 2005 and the IRA’s intimidation of witnesses to the attack?

    Sinn Fein’s popularity has taken a nosedive following these events. Running the risk of now being aligned in people’s minds with the 7/7 murderers and being subject to the new anti-terror laws in my view definitely hastened their desire to persuade the IRA to come to their senses.

    You sound like a die-hard republican and I can understand how any criticism of the IRA would boil your blood. I’m no fan of what the Brits and the Protestants did to Catholics in Northern Ireland and there’s no question the IRA started out in the North with just cause, but three decades later it’s become an institution of violence, based on violence whose aim is violence. They attract people who like violence because it makes them feel important.

    The truth is that the IRA’s motivation for finally renouncing violence is not the point even if the timing of it is interesting, coming as it does so clearly on the heels of 7/7. What matters more is if Sinn Fein can now control them and the IRA does not descend into the Irish equivalent of the mafia, feeding off people through drugs and crime and violence.

  • Noel, die-hard republican, no. Would I be calling them murderers and criminals if I was a die-hard supporter? I was debating you on their motivations for this recent statement and showed that it had nothing to do with 7/7 or even 9/11

    Whether they are genuine or whether they have committed crimes in the past 6-12months is not the point of this thread, it is about the fact that this statement that was released was not as a result of the recent London murders.

    As for new legislation being brought in, everytime there is a new crisis the securicrats always try and bring in harsher laws. These current new laws are allegedly to do with keeping people in custody so they can break their encrypted files which may take up to 3 months. Though Schneier has pointed out what crap that is. Many have already said the existing laws are good enough to do the job at hand. It seems a natural human trait that when an atrocity happens people think that their laws and law enforcement failed, so bigger better and louder! laws are needed.

  • Brian J

    I doubt the IRA has moral issues with being lumped in the same boat as Islamic terrorists considering they’ve been providing Muslim fanatics with logistical support and training for years around the world.

  • Franky

    I should have been cleared when I mentioned the Omagh bombing. What I meant to say was the public backlash against that type of bombing (even though the IRA in the strictest sense was not responsible) was a major incentive for the IRA to look at alternative means.

  • Tara Robinson

    the IRA have no right to do this, its just petty. Both the English and the Irish have very bloody histories with each other, but i thought we’d moved away from the “tit for tat” stuff. now its just silly!

  • I should have been cleared when I mentioned the Omagh bombing. What I meant to say was the public backlash against that type of bombing (even though the IRA in the strictest sense was not responsible) was a major incentive for the IRA to look at alternative means.