The Irish Republican Army (IRA) on Thursday said it was giving “due consideration” to a call from Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to abandon armed struggle and use democratic means to resolve disputes.
The IRA has degenerated into a band of thugs, nothing more or less than Northern Ireland’s own version of the Mafia. This isn’t about a stupid (see more on that below) political struggle anymore; it’s just about their livelihoods as criminals.
The irony is that Sinn Fein ought to be disbanding, or at least moving on, also. This political fight is pointless. With the growing relevance of the European Union, free trade, open borders and shared human rights agencies and courts, deciding whether Northern Ireland will be part of Ireland or part of the UK is like deciding whether Overland Park will be part of Missouri or Kansas. It’s a technical matter, certainly not worth bloodshed and not worth the existence of political parties with that as their primary reason for existing. Nationalism is close to meaningless. (Never mind that it was close to meaningless after several hundred years of back and forth immigration anyway.) Want proof? Look to the devolution of Scotland. It’s consequences were considerably less than earth shattering.
Religious freedom is guaranteed no matter what happens; the only threat to religious tolerance comes not from government but from thugs in the IRA and to a lesser extent their Protestant counterparts. The real irony is that the conservative Catholic and Protestant factions would probably find, as they have in the US, that they have more in common with each other than they do with socialist governments in London, Dublin or Brussels. Of course, the IRA and Sinn Fein are really more closely allied with Marxism than Catholicism, but that’s just one more reason they both belong on the trash heap of history.