Davison murder shows North’s criminal gangs no longer fear Provos
The murder of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison is the single biggest blow to the IRA stranglehold over Catholic working class areas of the North.
While the perception still exists that the Provisional IRA “controls” areas like west Belfast, the reality has changed almost totally since the days when the IRA could execute or kneecap any suspected drug dealers or “hoods”, the generic term for criminal elements in the city.
The IRA retreated, either into full-time political life with Sinn Féin or into illicit money-making ventures to pay for the increasingly affluent lifestyles of its members. The core of its terrorist operations, once the most lethal and technologically advanced on Earth, has disappeared.