Britain's moral responsibility

THE INDEPENDENT Monitoring Commission's previous report to London and Dublin can only be described as partisan, representing a politically contrived view of reality to suit the interests of the status quo in Ireland.

Once again, this establishment-selected panel wilfully neglected to include the malign activities of British military intelligence agencies which still operate throughout Ireland. It failed to include this structural element of the conflict, responsible for hundreds of murders, both direct and proxy, throughout the past decades.

It failed to report that at present, this element is determined to maintain its effectiveness both in terms of recruiting agents, controlling loyalist death squads and the potential for state terrorism.

The membership of the IRA, which has been debating its future in recent months, will no doubt have looked upon the report with contempt, as will have the wider republican community in Ireland. However, the volunteers of the organisation have big decisions to make. Since the beginning of the peace process the Tactical Use of Armed Struggle document (TUAS) has formed the basis of the IRA's raison d'etre.

Debate has existed as to whether this was an ideological device with no tactical value other then keeping the organisation together behind the Adams' leadership, or whether it was a genuine attempt at achieving an "integrated strategy".

Although an integrated approach may have been genuinely conceived by some as a way forward during the mid-1990s, the TUAS has since morphed into the former. It is now beyond question a defunct position, an incongruous road sign along the Sinn Féin route to progress.

Republicans' ambitious project of building a monopoly of social and political power in the six counties to subvert and negate the state, has been checked. It has ground to a halt. The corrosive effects of the military inactivity have caused the movement huge problems. Its cohesiveness has inevitably been compromised, while some members have brought shame on its name, particularly with the murder of Robert McCartney.

Gerry Adams'appeal to the IRA could be seen as a recognition of this and of the need for a fundamental reappraisal of republican strategy. In response, the group's membership must not simply rubber stamp a formula which may allow Sinn Féin to enter into power sharing with unionists and push the British government for full implementation of the Good Friday agreement.

It must assert its democratic collectivism in a way consistent and complementary to the store of accumulated republicanuniversal values which have directed republicans in the past. This is essentail if republicans are to avoid falling prey to complete moral relativism and an alienated political strategy unable to foward a radical republican agenda.

In stepping into what Adams'has termed the 'Bearna Baoil' (gap of danger), this is the challenge facing the IRA. The decisions reached will shape the future of republican activism and the political landscape of Ireland for years to come.

Regardless of the IRA's response, there is a moral responsibility and international obligation on the part of the British to implement the Agreement in full.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2005-07-28 11:20:07.
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