A Student of History

January 29, 2007

Slowly turning the corner…

Filed under: Ireland,The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 4:07 pm

Slowly turning the corner is how I would think one could describe Ireland today.  The prospect of peace is real, and a lasting one at that.  The IRA has within the last several months decommissioned arms, which is an historic milestone on the trail from conflict to peace.  Now, we learn that this week, “a conference of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Provisional IRA, voted to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and to join its governing authority by a lopsided majority of 9-1. ”  This has been a key demand of the ultra-reactionary, hard-core Protestant force in the North, the Democratic Unionist Party headed by Presbyt. minister Ian Paisley (pictured below). 

Ian Paisley

This move by SF is seen by objective observers and commentators as “the final step needed before Sinn Fein could be admitted to the ‘power-sharing’ government of Northern Ireland under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.”  It is a very hopeful sign, which may soon bring cooperation to a land not know for such over the past several centuries.

Now the ball is in Paisley’s court, but unfortunately he has a track record of avoiding compromise and breaking what appear th be promises, mainly to keep his faction in power.  Time will tell if he comes out for peace, or the same old tactics of the past.

SF and Gerry Adams need to shed their unsavory past as well, and to a large extent they have.  Since 9/11, being a terrorist is no longer romantic when it comes to Ireland, as it once was among many Americans of Irish descent who knew little of what is euphemistically labelled “The Troubles.”  The IRA has made some very large steps forward toward peace, but they have not been met with equal strides by the other side. 

For an interesting opinion piece on the matter in the New York Post, click here.

“Bloody Sunday” 1972

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