Whose peace in Ireland?

AFTER ONE year the Irish ‘peace process’ is still on course. The IRA and INLA have not been defeated, but the solution to be imposed will be an imperialist one nevertheless.

Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the nature of the international commission which is likely to be set up to supervise the ‘decommissioning’ of paramilitary arms. It will almost certainly be headed by a prominent US figure, such as George Mitchell, who organised President Clinton’s investment conference on the Six Counties earlier this year.

Although the British will not of course be asked to decommission anything, neither Sinn Fein nor the Irish Republican Socialist Party have ruled out co-operating with the commission in principle. At present Gerry Adams insists that no weapons can be handed over until a final peace agreement has been reached, while the British say that some must be surrendered before all-party talks can begin.

That represents a huge gulf, but also allows plenty of space for a compromise. No doubt that will contain a withdrawal of some British forces. At present the combined total of troops and RUC has been reduced by only 1,500 to 30,500, and the ‘security’ forces are still consolidating their occupation, as demonstrated by the establishment of a huge new military installation in republican West Belfast.

Jim Blackstock