Friday 9 December 2016

Some huge questions remain about how Sinn Fein might act if they got into power

Culture changes slowly. It would be naive to think the culture of Provisionalism is now fully democratic, writes Dan O'Brien

Published 25/10/2015 | 02:30

PROVOS: According to the Villiers’ Report the IRA Army Council still exists and the IRA believes it calls the shots in Sinn Fein
PROVOS: According to the Villiers’ Report the IRA Army Council still exists and the IRA believes it calls the shots in Sinn Fein

Liz O'Donnell became a junior minister in the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1997. During her extended period in that role, she was involved in formulating government policy on Northern Ireland and negotiating with participants in the evolving political process.

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Referring to the role of the Provisional movement during her time in office, she wrote last month in her Irish Independent column "many of us had to suspend our critical faculties for the greater good of peace". On more recent developments, she wrote "most of us assumed, perhaps naively, that the IRA had indeed left the stage/been disbanded".

It is hard to see how naivete and the suspension of critical faculties can help anyone in dealing with complex, high-risk situations. Being naive and suspending critical faculties when dealing with ruthless and intelligent people who are steeped in a culture of extremism and militarism is to invite trouble.

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