Honesty on one side; the British and Oirish governments on the other. Mutually exclusive concepts - well at least insofar as the handling of the Ulster appeasement process is concerned. For at the same time as Perma-tan and McDowell sit in their plush offices, pontificating about the puritanical morals of the IRA, the Gardai and the PSNI are continuing their long-running investigations into the darker side of the Provos' criminal empire.
Identified by the IMC earlier this year as a 'strategic asset' (it will be interesting to note whether government pressure forces the IMC to drop its renewal of that term in their October submission) to boost Sinn Fein's electoral prospects in the Republic, both police forces are continuing to probe money laundering, fuel and cigarette smuggling, crime and extortion. Furthermore, probes into property investment in areas as far away as the Black Sea coast are under the spotlight. And, as Eilis O'Hanlon says in the same paper, what incentive is there for the Provos to give up crime, given that the whole approach to their terrorist apparatus has been one of softly, softly down the years?
A few days ago, the PSNI raided another illegal fuel depot in Cullyhanna, South Armagh. When I wrote about this, Chris Gaskin typed a response saying he knew the person concerned and that he wasn't a republican. Mmmm, very believable. In my opinion he either didn't know him well enough to notice strange goings-on at the aforesaid dwelling, in which case he is no position to say whether he is definitively a republican or not; or else knew the person well enough to have at least an inkling of his background hobbies but chose to keep them quiet from the PSNI (a line of non-cooperation very much in tandem with his 'party'). As I said, this in only an opinion. I'll be gracious enough to let Mr Gaskin answer for himself, if and when he chooses to do so. Perhaps he should have written 'know of' instead of 'know'. Tsk, tsk!
Anyway, back to more important matters. The truth remains that the Provisional IRA is up to its proverbial neck in a welter of illegal activity. Simply suspending those activities would not relinquish them from the stigma of criminality. Only the complete surrender of everything ever accrued by the proceeds of crime would do that. My friends, such an undertaking is not possible by November 24th.
Bye, bye Stormont.