A farewell to arms
THE Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) which reports to the Irish and British governments on terrorist activity in Northern Ireland has published 18 reports since its establishment in January 2004. The 19th, which will be published tomorrow, will be one of the most historic.
This report, specially requested by the governments, concludes that the Provisional IRA army council has "effectively" been disbanded. That move had been expected for a long time -- too long. It would be greeted more warmly if the so-called "republican movement" had announced it formally. But it still carries with it enormous meaning and significance.
Among the IMC's many duties has been overseeing the "transformation" of the IRA, which means its absorption into Sinn Fein and final confirmation that it will pursue its aims only by democratic and peaceful means. The virtual completion of that process means that the people of our whole island can believe in the reality and permanence of peace.