We Say
Recipe for disaster

Here we go (again). The International Monitoring Commission is asked (again) to report on a specific incident (again) earlier than planned (again) and the group in the frame is the IRA (again).

It seems that for all their certainty that the IRA did the Northern Bank job, those pointing the finger need an awful lot of reassurance. First we were told that the dogs on the street knew that it was the IRA. All duly announced themselves “certain”. Then we were told that Chief Constable Hugh Orde believed that the IRA did it. All duly announced themselves “really certain”.

Then Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair said they believed that the IRA did it. All duly pronounced themselves “really, really certain”. This week after a security summit in Downing Street, Bertie and Tony reiterated their belief that the IRA was culpable. All duly pronounced themselves “really, really, really certain”.

And when next week, with the inevitability of Pavlov’s dog, the IMC rules that the IRA was responsible, presumably, all will duly pronounce themselves “really, really, really, really certain” and the business of punishing republicans can begin.

That critical faculties have been put to one side in the rush to judgement in this case is not surprising, we’ve seen it all before in the case of Castlereagh and ‘Stormontgate’. Nor is it exactly a quare gunk that the concepts of justice and fair play are done way with – after all, this is the place where the Diplock conveyor belt made a mockery of the very idea of due process so there is not much of a tradition of respect for jurisprudence. If those same people stood silently by while men and women were brutalised before being condemned to lengthy periods in jail on flimsy or non-existent evidence, then of course the side-of-the-mouth assurances of policemen and spooks comes as something akin to a smoking gun.

Those of us determined to stand fast in the face of this latest attempt to pressgang us into voting for the governments’ pet parties know that the same intelligence agencies who are advising London and Dublin were not that long ago pulling the strings of their loyalist paramilitary puppets as they shot innocent people dead in their homes.

That London should accept the word of such people is not surprising – for the British establishment it was ever thus. It is bad enough that Dublin should so unquestioningly accept the word of these people, that they should expect the rest of us to do so to is an insult to our intelligence.

Of course, the IMC will have talked to precisely the same people who talked to the Chief Constable and to Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, so in that regard their latest rushed report will be utterly meaningless, but it will give the British government the pseudo-legal excuse it needs to move against Sinn Féin.

And that’s all that really matters.

In the meantime, the latest loyalist feud continues with the gunmen and arsonists out in force on the Shankill and in Woodvale and the British government will continue to refuse to give any assistance whatsoever to the Barron inquiry, the Oireachtas committee and the various inquests trying to get to the bottom of the Dublin-Monaghan massacres. But you can bet your bottom dollar that neither of these things was on the agenda at Downing Street on Tuesday.

That criminality and gangsterism should come to an end goes without saying. But when one protagonist in a conflict gets to decide who’s a criminal and a gangster and who isn’t, then that’s a recipe for disaster.

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