The peace process emerged from the Hume/Adams dialogue of 1992 and these discussions laid the foundations for everything that followed. Hume facilitated the entry of the IRA/Sinn Fein into the Peace Process in return for which they undertook to
· Decommission IRA arms
· Disband the IRA and its Army Council
The former has been delivered but there are questions about the latter.
Significant developments, such as IRA cease fires, were normally made public by press statements issued under the pseudonym of P. O’Neill of the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin. No statement has been issued from this source stating that the IRA and its Army Council has been disbanded.
While the IRA Army Council may be dormant we have no reason to relax. As long as it remains in existence so too, one must assume, does its strategy of using the ‘ArmaLite and the Ballot Box’ to achieve its goals. Its long term objective is control not of Belfast but of Dublin. Sinn Fein has made excellent progress in recent years using the ballot box, but should they fail to get their way at some juncture the real danger remains that they will reactivate the IRA and the ArmaLite.
McGuiness is a remarkably able and astute person. This does not make him a person one should trust. Indeed was he not so able there would be less to fear. Hume was prepared to trust Adams. He knew McGuinness but did not trust him: indeed he feared him. We who do not know him would be foolish to do otherwise.
Whatever about McGuinness’s direct involvement with acts classified as war crimes, he was in a position of authority within the IRA during most of the Northern conflict. No matter how reformed he may be, he cannot shirk legal and moral responsibility for the deeds of the organisation: the IRA’s killing of 644 civilians, sadistic torture, ‘knee-capping’, kidnapping and the arbitrarily destruction of the lives of its victims; all of which are in clear contravention of the fourth Geneva Convention as pointed out recently by Fintan O’Toole.
McGuinness has serious questions to answer regarding IRA activities during the many years while in a position of authority within the organisation. Standing before the judges in The Hague answering questions related to war crimes and IRA activates would appear to be more fitting than standing before the Irish electorate seeking the highest office in this Republic.
30 September 2011