The end of this week may see a major shift in position in Northern Ireland’s Republican movement. There are a number of signs this may happen.
Firstly, the IRA’s political ally Sinn Fein has been intensifying contacts with the British and Irish governments and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness has travelled to the USA, allegedly to give supporters and politicians an update on the peace process. However, it may be more than that.
“Hard choices, hard decisions, have to be taken and I think the Republicans are up for that,” he said in Washington.
“I think it is quite clear that everyone that has watched the onward march of the peace process and the efforts to disrupt that march and the obstacle-building, knows that the only way forward for all of us is the successful conclusion of the peace process.”
Another sign is Wednesday night’s conditional release of one of the IRA’s bloodiest bombers Sean Kelly, who killed 10 people in 1993. It is believed his freedom is an IRA precondition for the abandonment of its armed campaign.
Weekend reports from Ireland also indicated McGuinness, Gerry Adams, and Martin Ferris, all senior Sinn Fein figures, have quit the IRA’s army council. For years they have denied belonging to the paramilitary organisation.