September 18, 2004
TROUBLES ARE TEMPORARY:
End of the IRA offered to Unionists in peace deal (Thomas Harding, 18/09/2004, Daily Telegraph)
An offer that could lead to the IRA's demise was made by republicans as part of a deal to restore devolution in Northern Ireland, political sources said yesterday. [...]
Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, offered to decommission most of the IRA's arsenal and a form of guarantee to end all paramilitary activity was put on the table.
Before the summit at Leeds Castle in Kent started Mr Adams prepared republicans for an end to the IRA by saying that the terrorist group had to be removed as an "excuse" for Unionists refusing to share power with Sinn Fein.
More pressure was put on republicans yesterday after Albert Reynolds, the former Irish premier, told a conference in Belfast that the IRA, which was responsible for more than half of the 3,600 deaths in the Troubles, should become "a commemorative organisation".
Tony Blair tried to put pressure on Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party to accept Sinn Fein's offer and agree to go into power sharing with Mr Adams.
If he succeeds, Mr Blair would have achieved something unthinkable a few months ago because the DUP refused to share government with a party tied to terrorists.
Folk who are all hangdog about the prospects of the Middle East should just think back to how impossible this turn of events seemed as recently as twenty years ago. Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2004 2:17 PM