Saturday 27 May 2017

Sinister doctrine of `internal housekeeping'

CONOR CRUISE O'BRIEN

AS IT palpably founders, the so-called peace process is growing visibly more corrupt, and the corruption is assuming more and more bizarre and repugnant forms.

AS IT palpably founders, the so-called peace process is growing visibly more corrupt, and the corruption is assuming more and more bizarre and repugnant forms.

Take the language with which Mo Mowlam, in a statement published yesterday, defended her decision not to treat the murder of Charles Bennett by the IRA as a breach of the IRAs ceasefire. Mo Mowlam said: ``Clearly Sir Ronnie Flanagan has said that the IRA were involved in the murder of Charles Bennett. I accept that. But I have to make a decision under the criteria in the Sentences Act as to whether I believe the ceasefire is holding. There is no example of organised violence, there is no disintegration of the ceasefire, so in relation to the ceasefire I believe that it is holding.''

So the murder by the IRA of Charles Bennett a murder which the Secretary of State acknowledges to have taken place does not constitute a breach of the IRA ceasefire. And this appears to be the considered view of Mo Mowlam and her advisers. What is involved here is the novel and sinister doctrine of what Northern Ireland officials now like to call internal housekeeping.

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