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Thursday, July 28, 2005

News from Northern Ireland....

The news from Northern Ireland today was expected for some time, and the weeks (actually months) of anticipation itself may have undermined a more enthusiastic reception for the announcement. It is unlikely that it will make any real day-to-day difference within the communities of Belfast and Ulster in general, for life in the post-Agreement era has generally settled into a pattern that assumed the quiescence of the IRA and the suspension (if not end) of organized sectarian violence.

As the IRA statement indicates, there is nothing in today's actions that changes the main mission of the IRA and its supporters to achieve a united Ireland and the British out of Northern Ireland. What has been altered are the sanctioned means, and no one should think that the main issues underlying and driving the Troubles have been resolved.

But as friend Ciaran indicates, what has been accomplished today (if it is not just another non-starter as we have seen before) is a major step in offering the Unionist side the security which has been central to their concerns. Paisley and company are (as expected) publicly skeptical, but assuming the IRA delivers, we are in for some very interesting political maneuvering as an operational government might emerge from all this that will give Adams a seat near the head of the assembly table,

Very interesting days ahead....

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