The Left

An Army without arms?

The IRA statement gets straight to the point:

The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign.

This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon.

All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms.

All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means.

My first thought was – great. Then it was is this the end of the IRA then? After all, what is the point of an army without a war to fight and without weapons to shoot?

Henry McDonald, the Observer’s Belfast correspondent puts it like this:

There is one key word missing from today’s IRA statement on its future – disbandment. Which means that regardless of the Provisional movement’s offer to end all “military activity” and decommission most (though crucially, not all) its weaponry, the most lethal paramilitary organisation in western Europe remains intact.

…..There is also one potential booby trap for the Provisional movement contained in today’s statement.

They explain that armed struggle is ending because the conditions are right to achieve a united Ireland. In fact, a united Ireland looks no more closer than it does when the Provisional IRA was formed in 1969.

Have a read of the rest of his views.