Saturday, January 08, 2005

Retribution or pretext?

The Scotsman: "Sinn Fein leaders were holding an emergency meeting today after the IRA was blamed for the £26.5 million Northern Bank robbery.

Members of the republican party’s national executive were gathering in Dublin amid a deepening political crisis following Chief Constable Hugh Orde’s assessment.

Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness was left seething by the declaration, and challenged Mr Orde to produce evidence to back his claim.

But with unionists demanding that Prime Minister Tony Blair ban republicans from any future devolved administration, hopes of any short term peace deal in Ulster seem dashed. Ministers in London and Dublin have conceded there is virtually no chance of power-sharing returning in the next six months."

So there we have it. Some Irish republicans robbed a bank (or so we are told anyway) and the unionists think this is a rational basis to exclude republicans from any power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. I've wondered whether the unionists were acting in good faith as they continue to hold up the Good Friday agreement, ostensibly because the republicans haven't decommissioned their arms, even though Provisional IRA arms are locked away as verified by retired Canadian General John de Chastelain, and the Provos have been on unilateral ceasefire for seven years now. But why make concessions when you are holding all the cards?

Wouldn't it be nice for Tony Blair to turn his eyes toward the injustice and disenfranchisement within his own borders? Better yet, why not dissolve the gerrymandered mini-state and return it to the Irish Republic? The people in the Six Counties would be better off economically anyway. It it really worth it to keep reliving the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?