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Friday, July 29, 2005


The IRA, and it’s various scions is one of the Alchemist’s least favourite religious terrorist organizations – you will appreciate that this is a hotly contested list.

I am of course rather too young to comment on their worst acts, these happening in the 70’s and early 80’s for the most part. Since then they have maintained a violent and murderous operation, but of steadily decreasing intensity.

In response to the group’s recent ‘promise’ to lay down their arms and pursue political means the British Army have begun to shut down certain installations in Armagh – this has been roundly criticised, and it is easy to see why. This is not the first time the IRA has promised to stop blowing people up, and it wont be the last time either – and with this borne in mind, weakening the Army in Northern Ireland does seem a trifle unwise. So why is it happening?

Simply put it is diplomacy. Diplomacy was once defined as the art of saying ‘nice doggy’ until such time as one can find a big enough stick. This is precisely what both sides are doing.

Both sides know that the cease-fire will not last, but both sides are willing to say ‘nice doggy’ to the other until a stick comes to hand. Unfortunately there is not a big enough stick to crush either the IRA or the British Army, so what will become of the cease-fire?

Well, it seems obvious that any reduction in overt Army presence will be countered by an increase in the covert – similarly we can expect to see more and more violent ‘IRA splinter groups’ which are in fact not splinter groups at all, but mainstream IRA doing business as usual under a new name.

Britain and Ireland will probably be forced to wheel out a couple more sacrificial lambs for the power sharing altar and Gerry Adams will continue to demand the moon on a stick because god knows there’s no reason for him to change, he’s an IRA meal ticket for life.

The big question is why does anyone bother? No one seriously believes this cease fire will last longer than the last one. Everyone knows that Sinn Féin is the IRA by another name and we are all aware that this whole situation is essentially and argument about who has the best way to worship the same deity.

There is, as we have discussed, no stick big enough, and the doggy is not nice, if we accepted those two facts then the situation would become rather simpler.

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