March 10, 2005


White House calls on IRA to disband after US cuts links to Sinn Fein (FRASER NELSON, 3/10/05, The Scotsman)

THE White House moved to sever what remains of its relations with Sinn Fein yesterday as it reacted to the IRA’s extraordinary offer to shoot the men who murdered Robert McCartney.

In Washington, President George Bush’s envoy to Northern Ireland said it was "time for the IRA to go out of business" - and that it should disband immediately. [...]

Mitchell Reiss, the White House envoy to Northern Ireland, said this dealt further blows to Sinn Fein’s democratic credentials.

"It’s time for Sinn Fein to be able to say explicitly, without ambiguity, without ambivalence, that criminality will not be tolerated," he told the BBC. [...]

Tony Blair seized the issue in the House of Commons yesterday - saying it was staggering that the IRA thought it was making amends by offering to shoot Mr McCartney’s killers.

"It was quite an extraordinary thing to say. It frankly defies any description. It cannot be in any shape or form justified," he said. "There’s no way we can make any progress in Northern Ireland that includes Sinn Fein unless we have a complete and total end to violence of whatever kind."

Paul Murphy, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said: "Robbing banks, killing people and racketeering has got to come to an end. We thought it would with the 1998 [Good Friday] Agreement. That transition process hasn’t happened quickly enough."

In Dublin, Bertie Ahern - whose relationship with the Sinn Fein leadership is at an all-time low - admitted he was so shocked he had to re-read the IRA’s statement on Tuesday.

"Sometimes you hear these things and it’s hearsay, but then you actually see it in a written form," the Taoiseach said. "We all want to see justice to be done, but their response (the IRA’s) to that was to eliminate three or four people. It’s horrific."

St Patrick’s Day next week will illustrate for the United States how the IRA is now out in the cold.

Sinn Fein is not being invited to any government event, and in its place the sisters of Mr McCartney have been invited by Mr Bush to spend the day in the White House.

America and Americans played an unconscionable role in propping up the IRA for decades--the least we can do is help to finally get rid of them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 10, 2005 6:59 AM

Agreed. I know many Americans with Irish heritage (especially here near Boston) who believe supporting the IRA is their way of supporting the mother country.

Also, remember when Bush launched the WOT cynics and liberals would cite groups like the IRA and other non-Muslim groups to show Bush was being selective? This refutes that argument.

And, not to pick on Bill Clinton give his health issues but Bush hasn't met with either Arafat (when alive) or Adams which Clinton did many times.

Posted by: AWW at March 10, 2005 8:41 AM

I'd really like to hear the comments of one Edward M. Kennedy about this maneuver, and whether or not he supports the White House's actions. It would probably surpass Teddy's all-time record for "uhms" and "ehrs" when Roger Mudd asked him why he wanted to be president.

Posted by: John at March 10, 2005 9:22 AM

The Irish Republican Army isn't.

It's not "Irish," in the sense of an advocate of Irish nationalism. It was, once, long ago, but it was overrun by Marxists and such a generation ago.

It's not "Republican," since if it ever came to power the result would be a simple Ba'athist-style thugocracy.

It's not an "Army," it's a goon squad.

This Irish Catholic boy is all for seeing Gerry Adams and his ilk swinging from a convenient gallows.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 10, 2005 9:31 AM

I'm sure the Feds know about "contributions" to the IRA from Boston and NYC and elsewhere in its money laundering investigations.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at March 10, 2005 9:55 AM

Once the Republicans are disarmed, who here is going to insist the Loyalist terrorists do as well?

Strange that OJ should be so anti-IRA when it practically fulfills his entire wishlist for how the Palestinians turn out.
1) It was the IRA who initiated the peace process, not the Loyalists, not London.
2) The IRA has substantially kept its cease fire, not played a double game like the Palestinians have.
3) The IRA is committed to becoming a legitimate political party and participating in government and being held responsible for its actions. Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah can yet make that claim.

And it has done all of this prior to 9/11. The process of becoming a legitimate political party began with the Bobby Sands Hunger Strike in 1981. The unilateral cease fire was in 1994. The Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

If the Palestinians acted like the IRA did, everyone would be jumping up and down in joy, but the IRA gets attacked. Fine, I don't mind people who want to get the gun out of Irish politics. But attacking the IRA won't, because even if the IRA capitulates entirely, the Loyalist terrorists will still be around and they're responsible for most of the crime and terrorism in the Six Counties.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 10, 2005 11:21 AM

While I don't object to calling the IRA a "goon squad," I don't think you can question its nationalist and republican credentials.

The IRA, as we know and talk about it, is the actually the Provisional IRA (Provos). They walked away from the true IRA precisely because the IRA was little more than a Marxist debating society. The Provos rejected that because they wanted to defend the Irish Catholic population from attack by Loyalists. That was their purpose: defending the Nationalist population.

Likewise, the IRA wants democracy in an united Ireland. Other than a unified government, it is willing to negotiate all other issues. It does not seek to punish or expel the Protestants, but include them inside a united Ireland, and it supports a secular state precisely so Protestant concerns are met. There is no more evidence that Sinn Fein/IRA would establish a Baathist thugocracy than Nelson Mandela and the ANC would in South Africa (and many thought that would happen too).

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 10, 2005 11:32 AM

Chris: hang the loyalist terrorists from the same gallows, just to be ecumenical.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 10, 2005 11:50 AM

Chris: Yeah, the Provos are just freedom fighters, not terrorists, Everything is the fault of the Israelis, oops Jews, oops Protestent Loyalists.

Posted by: Bob at March 10, 2005 12:06 PM

. . . the IRA wants democracy in an united Ireland . . .

That's why they blew up Louis Mountbatten, and shot Robert McCartney, and offered to shoot the guys who shot Robert McCartney . . . to demonstrate their commitment to the rule of law.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 10, 2005 1:18 PM

Mike Morley:

When they murdered Mountbatten, they also killed one of his twin nephews and a local boy who was helping with the boat. If all the IRA's American supporters can't find fault with these SOBs for slaughtering an old Indian viceroy and WWII hero, does it at least cause them to think twice that they have no compunctions about killing children?

I'm an Irish Catholic too, as my name implies. When I was 11 years old, our family took in a Northern Irish kid for six weeks as part of a foreign exchange program (except, of course, that no American kids were going over there). I discovered from him that most of the Irish Catholics despise the NRA as much as the Orangemen do. So we've got a consensus for action, no?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 10, 2005 2:01 PM

To use an old Irish turn of phrase: I'm down with it.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 10, 2005 2:35 PM


For all intents and purposes, South Africa is a thugocracy.

There are 'Loyalist' criminals, but their issues are mostly crime-related rather than sectarian. They run the drug trade in the North for example. You have been repeatedly asked for an example of 'Unionist' political terror and have failed to produce one.

The SDLP and the OUP had infinitely more to do with any agreement than the IRA.

Posted by: Bart at March 11, 2005 9:38 AM

1) Loyalists are not in government
2) There are no Unionist terrorists, there are loyalist terrorists. Unlike republicans, Unionists condemn terrorism without exception, and for this reason they can draw the distinction. There can be no excuse for undermining the law, no matter the cause in which you claim to act.
3) Once republicans have disarmed, the loyalists will lose their excuse to remain armed, and lose most of the dwindling support they have left.

1) It was the IRA who initiated the peace process, not the Loyalists, not London.Of course the IRA were the ones initiating the ceasefire, they started the bloody "war". Britain would gladly have accepted the same terms 20 years ago, or 30 years ago. The IRA realised they couldn't bully a million British citizens of Northern Ireland into a united Ireland where they would simply become the new oppressed minority.

It does not seek to punish or expel the Protestants, but include them inside a united Ireland, and it supports a secular state precisely so Protestant concerns are met.
Do you seriously believe this? Really? If so then the Sinners have done a better PR job than I ever thought. The SDLP have published what appears to be a genuine proposal for an inclusive all-island state. You can read the details here

The best Sinn Fein can come up with is some kind of Chucky Ar La (I don't do Irish language, so that's phoenetic - translated Our Day Will Come) battle cry that sounds like they're baying for blood and/or revenge.

There is no more evidence that Sinn Fein/IRA would establish a Baathist thugocracy than Nelson Mandela and the ANC would in South Africa (and many thought that would happen too).
I think the jury's still out on South Africa. They refuse to condemn what's going on in Zimbabwe, they're giving land to people who can't farm, just because "at least the whites won't have it".

If Southern Ireland ever does annex Ulster, I'll be on the first Stranraer boat.

Posted by: Everything Ulster at March 27, 2005 8:14 PM