Looks like Dr. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, is not taking the government line on the IRA binning their old and useless weapons. He said "the process was a mess, that the IRA made the rules, appointed the referee and was doing as it wanted."
The weird thing about this whole process is that it has been done in secret- no photos or vidoes allowed- and the weapons are never referred to as destroyed- merely "put beyond use". What exactly does that mean? Added to that what few witnesses there have been, have been picked by the IRA themselves.
The feeling in Northern Ireland at the moment can best be summed up by this quote-
Another man said that the guns had only come thanks to "concession after concession" to the republican movement [ed- the Nationalists i.e. those wanting a united Ireland]. What had happened to the investigation into the Northern Bank robbery, he asked. Why had Shankill Road bomber Sean Kelly been released? Why were the Army reducing their presence with so many unanswered questions?
It's a good point- even the Irish government is convinced that the IRA carried out the Northern Bank robbery and as I blogged a few days ago, there's no doubt that Sinn Fein [the political party] and the IRA are one and the same. For years the government has bowed to the Nationalists, blaming every incident on "dissident republicans" and NOT the IRA. This was at the same time that the police were telling us that officers were being moved from their homes because of IRA surveillance and while the IRA's gangster activities continue unabated. The Army have been stood down and security posts dismantled in the wake of the IRA statement (long before this actually happened)- oddly, all of the recent terrorist activity here has been blamed on dissidents not linked to the IRA. Strange then that we're removing our security when the dissidents are still armed? There's surely no link between them is there? The government wouldn't lie to us about something like that would it, simply to keep their "peace process" going and prevent the IRA attacking them again?
The bias at the BBC on this matter is apparent in the articles they've written on this- by tacitly assuming that the IRA have been forthright and honest, and in placing the onus on the DUP to share power with Sinn Fein/IRA-
"it will become clear whether the DUP are just playing hard to get or if they simply cannot bring themselves to share power with Sinn Fein."
They choose to ignore that whether or not the IRA have decommissioned all of their weapons- and only a decent period of time without such weapons being used can tell us that for sure- the simple fact remains that Unionists are being asked to share government with a terrorist group. Martin McGuinness is a self-confessed member of the IRA and one time "brigade commander" of a unit which was actively carrying out bombings and shootings- since then of course he has risen to an overall leadership position, along with Gerry Adams, in the IRA "Army Council". In other words, he may be given another government leadership position despite his being responsible for a considerable number of murders. And the way the Good Friday Agreement works, the devolved government of Northern Ireland cannot be one formed by the party with the most votes- power MUST be shared with the nationalist parties which don't have quite so many votes; which is why a terrorist was briefly the Minister for Education.
And let's not forget that Sinn Fein/IRA has further demands- despite the fact that many convicted of carrying out terrorist atrocities were released early from prison, Gerry Adams wants more killers let loose:
Mr Adams also said that whilst the IRA killers of Garda Jerry McCabe had taken themselves out of any political deal, Sinn Fein still regarded them as prisoners who should qualify for early release.
This is the reason that the majority Unionist population has been less than enthused by the IRA's actions- we've had over a decade of British government pandering to a terrorist organisation; our police force has been gutted and striped of its identity, forces placed here to protect the local population have been removed and are soon to be thrown out of their jobs, an armed terrorist group was permitted to govern us, and scores of convicted terrorists have been set free from prison- long before any weapons were offered up for destruction. Sorry- before they were put beyond use- we don't know exactly what's been done with them, perhaps some trusted chap in the IRA has offered to keep them in a safe place and make sure no one else gets them?
And lets not forget that while British taxpayers are paying millions of pounds for a second Bloody Sunday inquiry (and there will no doubt be a 3rd if they don't get the result they want to hear this time round), there have been no similar inquries set up to investigate the circumstances around IRA atrocities- the unsolved bombings and shootings are supposed to remain just so.
In essence a number of weapons of unknown number and questionable usefulness have been put out of use and we are expected to take the IRA precisely at their word and re-enter talks so that the Sinn Fein leadership can once again enter government, make more demands and then act surprised by any further IRA crimes. By the way, the Sinn Fein MPs are willing to accept full MP pay, offices at Parliament and all the other benefits of the job- but they refuse to take an oath of allegiance- a legal requirement of all other MPs. They have been allowed to do this. Can you imagine a US senator refusing to swear allegiance to the United States and yet still being allowed to serve and accept full pay?
Tony Blair can talk tough all he wants but Northern Ireland is where his true colours are shown- he appeases terrorism in the hope that, if we simply give them enough of what they want, it will go away.