Editorial: IRELAND / FRFI 153 Feb / Mar 2000

FRFI 153 February / March 2000

Decommissioning: a temporary crisis? 

David Trimble and the Ulster Unionist Party, in agreeing to the Mitchell Review and the process that led to the setting up of the Northern Ireland Executive, set themselves a deadline of February for the IRA to begin decommissioning. If decommissioning has not begun by the time their leadership council meet on 12 February, then they threaten to withdraw from the executive. This deadline comes after the first report on the decommissioning process by General John de Chastelain, expected on 31 January. The Peace Agreement itself has set May as the date by which decommissioning should have been completed.

The announcement by Peter Mandelson on 19 January that the British government was going to implement almost all of Chris Patten's recommendations on the reform of the RUC infuriated unionists. The changes, which will be introduced in the autumn, will alter the name of the RUC to the 'Police of Northern Ireland'; do away with its crown and harp cap badge; reduce the number of police from 13,500 to 7,500; set up a new police board with two Sinn Fein members on it and attempt to recruit more Catholic members.

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Ireland: imperialism and national revolution

FRFI 187 October / November 2005

How the Trotskyists got it wrong

Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution
by Alan Woods,
Wellred Books,
May 2005,
135 pages, £6.99

Why review a book on Irish republicanism written by a long-standing member of the bloody, racist, imperialist British Labour Party? Because socialists needs to understand the significance of the revolutionary national class struggle against imperialism and for socialism, particularly with developments in Latin America. Woods’ analysis of Irish republicanism totally fails in this respect. Indeed, his book is an example of a trend which Lenin called imperialist economism, and which today expresses the interests of a narrow section of the working class – the labour aristocracy.

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Ireland: PSNI harasses nationalists

On 4 September the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) reported that, although the IRA Army Council continues to exist, it poses no threat to the peace process. The report comes at a time when the activity of dissident Republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement is at a ten-year high, and they are facing increased harassment by state forces.

The IMC was established by the British and Irish governments to monitor the disbandment of the IRA. Its latest report deals exclusively with the status of the IRA and, in particular, the status of the IRA Army Council, the ruling body of the organisation. It states: ‘The mechanism which they [the IRA] have chosen to bring the armed conflict to a complete end has been the standing down of the structures which engaged in the armed campaign and the conscious decision to allow the Army Council to fall into disuse.’ The report goes on to say that it does not expect the IRA to make any further announcements on the disbandment of the Army Council beyond what it said in 2005 when it declared the end of its military campaign (see FRFI 187).

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Ireland: the key to the British revolution by David Reed